Senators Schumer and Clinton Announce Congressional Panel Approval of $35.5 Million in Veterans and Military Construction Funding for Central New York
Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton today announced that a Joint House and Senate Conference Committee has approved the Fiscal Year 2008 Veterans Affairs and Military Construction Appropriations bill, which includes $35.5 million in veterans and military construction funding for Central New York. The funds include $6.6 million for the Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) in Rome, $5.1 million for Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, and $23.8 million for the Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Center at the Syracuse VA Medical Center.
The funding includes $23.8 million for the Spinal Cord Injury Center that was proposed in the President's Fiscal Year 2008 Budget and provides an additional $11.7 million approved by the conference committee for military construction at NEADS and Hancock Field Air National Guard Base. The bill, having been approved by the Conference Committee, must now be approved by both chambers of Congress. If it is passed by the House and Senate it will then be sent to the President for his signature.
"This is terrific news for Central New York, and another key step in the appropriations process," said Senator Schumer. "These vital funds will ensure that troops throughout the area have access to the most cutting-edge technology and facilities, as well as providing our veterans with the top-notch care they deserve."
"This is great news for Central New York and for our veterans and men and women in uniform," Senator Clinton said. "These funds will provide important support to these vital projects, giving our veterans the services they deserve and keeping our national defense strong. I look forward to the President signing this bill into law."
The $35.5 million for Central New York in the Military Construction FY 2008 Appropriations bill includes:
Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS), Rome - Construct NEADS Support Facility - $6.6 million
Funding for this project was initially included as part of the Fiscal Year 2007 Veterans' Affairs and Military Construction Appropriations bill, which was not completed and signed into law. The Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) requires a new Support facility to replace aging facilities, which are currently not co-located, and to improve force protection of assigned resources. This is a two-phase construction project with Phase I having been approved and supported with $3 million in FY 2006 military construction funding. The NEADS is located on the former Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome. Unit personnel are housed in three different locations. Relocating the Headquarters building inside the Sector Operations Control Center (SOCC) Compound and moving personnel from Depot 1 to this building will improve protection of NEADS personnel and facilities.
Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse - Upgrade Base Facilities - $5.1 million
The 274th Air Support Operations Squadron (ASOS) and 152nd Air Operations Group (AOG) require a properly sized and configured facility. The two organizations are hosted by the 174th Fighter Wing and are housed jointly in a 22,500 square foot facility built in 2000. Both organizational missions have grown considerably, both in size and in operational responsibility in recent years. The 274th ASOS is expanding its personnel strength and its equipment package has nearly doubled in size in the last five years. The 152nd AOG likewise has expanded in total personnel and its requirements for secure and non-secure training and storage space has grown considerably. A larger facility or facilities is urgently needed to effectively train and prepare these organizations for their wartime missions. This will ensure adequate space exists to support both missions.
Syracuse VA Medical Center, Syracuse - Construction of Spinal Cord Injury Center - $23.8 million
This is the final phase of funding for the VA's effort to construct a 30-bed Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Center at the Syracuse VA Medical Center. Currently, there is no space available within the main hospital building to allow effective incorporation of SCI patients, and this project will resolve longstanding deficiencies in the SCI program at the Syracuse VA. Completion of funding for this effort will serve to enhance the quality of life for Central New York veterans and will leverage sharing agreements already in place with Fort Drum to contribute to a smooth transition for our troops out of the Department of Defense and into the VA.