VA Finds Way To Pay For Over-Budget, Overdue Hospital

<p>(AP Photo/David&nbsp;<span data-scayt-word="Zalubowski">Zalubowski</span>)</p>
<p>A worker walks at the construction site of the Veterans Affairs hospital Thursday, April 2, 2015, in Aurora, Colo. Veterans Affairs officials are trying to get the overdue, over-budget hospital back on track.</p>

A top Veterans Affairs official says his agency has come up with a way to pay for the overdue and over budget medical center under construction in Aurora. VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson visited the construction site Thursday and said the money will come from the agency's own budget.

Congressional approval is needed for that, Gibson added, or the project could face a shut down by the end of the month.

“Well, yeah, it is crunch time, and that’s why I think we’re going to get it done," he said. "It is costing us time and money by continuing to delay the full funding and the full authorization for this project."

About 700 workers are on the project, which could use double that number, Gibson said. Uncertainty over funding has scared off some subcontractors.

An investigation into massive cost overruns at a new veterans hospital outside Denver found VA officials didn't understand the complicated contracting process they adopted and said they mismanaged change orders.

The half-finished hospital is expected to cost up to $1.73 billion, nearly triple earlier estimates. An Army Corps of Engineers report released Thursday blamed the VA's management of the project. The report also cited repeated changes in the size and scope of the project for cost overruns and delays.

Gibson said his department is making changes in light of the findings.

The Corps of Engineers warned that the VA needs to make fundamental changes in the way it handles construction projects or it could incur delays and overruns on future projects.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.