Bi-Partisan Effort Seeks Infrastructure Improvements Near Military Bases
Congress created the Defense Community Infrastructure Program last year. Now, a bi-partisan swath of at least 13 members of the U.S. House of Representatives want Congress to appropriate funds in order to put the program to good use.
In a letter written to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, nine Democrats and four Republicans asked for $100 million to be appropriated into the 2020 Conference Report for the National Defense Authorization Act to provide grants and assist state and local governments to address infrastructure deficiencies in projects in and near defense communities.
While the program exists, Congress has not yet appropriated any funds to support the program.
These grants, which are awarded by the Secretary of Defense and require a 20 percent match from state or local government, would be used for projects that are outside of military installations, but that still support military installations.
This could mean upgrades to schools, transportation, utilities, hospitals and more in areas that are part of or are close to military installations.
Improved infrastructure in these communities help support service members and their families who are housed in these installations as part of their military assignations.
“The Defense Community Infrastructure Program is of vital importance to the well being of our national security infrastructure and the welfare of our service members and their families,” the letter stated. “[It] is a long-overdue investment in our nation’s defense infrastructure that will support readiness and family welfare.”
Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) was the top signature on the letter. She was joined in the ask by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA), Rep. T.J. Cox (D-CA), Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC), Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA), Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA), Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX), Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), Rep. Richard E. Neal (S-MA), Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ), Rep. Steve Watkins (R-KS).
“As a Navy veteran representing Hampton Roads, I know America’s military communities desperately need funding for infrastructure projects to promote readiness,” Luria said in a statement. “The Defense Community Infrastructure Program amounts to a critical investment for our country. These projects are vitally important to the strength of our national security infrastructure, as well as the welfare of our service members and their families.”