WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., has introduced a bill in Congress to sell federal land to help pay for relief from natural disasters or terrorist attacks.
"The federal government may be cash-poor, but it is land-rich," said Tancredo in a statement posted on his Web site. "There is demand for farm and ranchland, and the federal government should have long ago transferred its massive holdings to the private sector, where it can be put to use."
Tancredo said selling federal land would provide a one-time cash infusion for relief from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, and establish "long-term property and sales tax revenue streams."
The federal government owns more than 654 million acres of land, including a majority of land in Alaska, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Utah. More than 5.1 million acres of federal land are classified as 'vacant' with no definable purpose, said Tancredo.
Tancredo said an August 2005 study concluded the average value of farm and ranchland in the United States is $1,510 per acre -- and the sale of federal land for the national average could bring in almost $148 billion.