March 15, 2005

Military Construction Funding Passes Senate

Over $53 million secured for Idaho bases

WASHINGTON, DC â?? Idaho Senator Larry Craig, who serves on the Subcommittee on Military Construction of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Senator Mike Crapo, along with Representative Mike Simpson, a House Appropriations Committee member, and Representative C.L. â??Butchâ?? Otter, announced full Senate and House support for a number of military construction projects in Idaho. The projects were included in the FY 2004 Military Construction Appropriations bill Conference report, which passed the House of Representatives last week and the Senate today. Projects include military family housing construction, additions to a fitness center, new barracks, and new construction of a 726 Air Control Squadron Complex at Mountain Home Air Force Base.â??These additions and improvements to our two bases in Idaho will be of great benefit to the men and women of the Air Force and their families,â?? Senator Craig said. â??Our troops deserve the most up-to-date facilities, equipment, and housing in order to carry out their important missions. I am very pleased with the funding secured through this bill and believe it reaffirms Congressâ?? and the Administrationâ??s long-term commitment to Mountain Home Air Force Base and Gowen Field.â??"This measure strengthens the commitment to improving housing, supplies, and fitness needs at Mountain Home Air Force Base and Gowen Field in Boise," Senator Crapo said. "Gowen Field gets much-needed supply improvements as more of our Guardsmen have supported our efforts to fight terrorists. Mountain Home has been dealing with outdated housing and supplies stored in old wooden structures. These men and women deserve better. Idaho's military is the best in the nation and this bill moves us significantly toward matching our infrastructure closer to the expertise of our troops.""I am grateful that this bill includes vitally important resources for Idaho such as the fitness center upgrades and improved family housing at Mountain Home Air Force Base," said Congressman Mike Simpson. "The existing fitness center was built more than 40 years ago and is in great need of repair andthe family housing is part of an ongoing effort to improve housing on the base. Both of these projects are important to improving the quality of life and readiness of the airmen and women based at Mountain Home."â??Military service is dangerous, even in peacetime,â?? Congressman Otter said. â?? By its very nature it involves hardships for the men and women involved, as well as their families. It's our responsibility to make sure those hardships are tolerable, and no greater than necessary to get the job done. The personnel of America's active duty Armed Forces, National Guard and Reserves count on us to provide them and their loved ones with facilities that meet theirpersonal and professional needs. We owe them no less."This bill would provide the following:$37 million for the fifth phase of replacement family housing of 186 units at Mountain Home Air Force base. $9.8 million for new special operations, AGE/Vehicle Maintenance, supply storage facilities, renovation of the radar maintenance facility, and improvements to the Tech pad and radio tower for the 726 Air Control Squadron Complex at Mountain Home Air Force Base. $5.337 million for construction and renovations for the fitness center at Mountain Home Air Force base. According to the Air Forceâ??s own evaluations, the center at Mountain Home is the third worst in the United States. Funding will go towards meeting Air Force standards and requirements to meet the needs of the 5,054 personnel who use the facility.$1.14 million to replace World War II wooden barracks on Gowen Field with modern battalion sized facilities at the training site. Both in-state and out-of-state soldiers use Idaho facilities for training throughout the year. The new barracks are designed to provide modernized accommodations and co-location of command, control, administration, supply and security functions.The bill now goes to President Bush for his signature. [30]