IT Modernization

TMF gets $25 million boost in funding bill

tech budget 

The Technology Modernization Fund is getting a $25 million infusion in the fiscal year 2020 appropriations package set to move this week.

The legislative provision boosts the total capitalization of the fund to $150 million. The TMF, administered by the Office of Management and Budget and the General Services Administration, is a pool of no-year money authorized through 2025 by the Modernizing Government Technology Act. Agencies apply to access funds for IT upgrades, usually involving a shift from a legacy system to a commercially available managed service.

TMF was launched with $100 million and got a $25 million cash infusion in FY2019.

A House-passed appropriations bill sought $35 million for the TMF. However, the fund was zeroed out in a Senate bill that made it through committee.

"I applaud my colleagues from the Appropriations Committees of both chambers for prioritizing the efficiency and security of the federal government's IT infrastructure," Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) said in a statement. "The TMF remains a vital tool that federal agencies should continue to consider when identifying technological improvements for their day-to-day operations and replacing their costly and vulnerable legacy IT systems."

So far, according to a Dec. 12 update on the TMF website, the fund has awarded $87 million to nine projects, of which $32.8 million has been obligated. Some agencies have already started to pay back the fund from initial outlays.

The fund's administration was dinged in a critical Government Accountability Office report last week. According to the report, TMF management is at risk because of the low rate of collection of fund administration fees. The report also cast doubt on the reliability of cost savings estimates offered by agencies to justify their awards.

The TMF program is designed as a revolving fund in which agencies repay allocations out of cost savings, and funding can then be reallocated to launch subsequent projects. However, the TMF rules of the road specify that repayment is mandatory whether or not actual savings are realized.

In her reply comments on the report, OMB Deputy Director for Management Margaret Weichert urged Congress to up funding for TMF, "so OMB and GSA can more effectively manage the legitimate operational issues caused by underfunding the TMF and, most importantly, to ensure that TMF will remain a key lever to drive transformational change in citizen service delivery that taxpayers deserve."

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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