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Mr. KINGSTON. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
I rise today in strong support for the community of Hinesville, Georgia, and Liberty County. I commend the area for their ardent support of our troops and the Army at Fort Stewart, which has continuously engaged in the challenging missions in the defense of our Nation around the globe.
November 2007, the Army announced that Fort Stewart would receive another brigade combat team using the findings of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Committee, along with Fort Bliss and Fort Carson. Since that time, the community installation and Congress have geared up and invested for that growth. Working with post leadership and the Pentagon, Congress appropriated funds for military construction projects such as barracks, buildings, and operation facilities at $154 million for FY 2008 and $352 million for FY09. Clearly the Army has invested greatly to maintain Fort Stewart's tradition as an award-winning installation of excellence.
At the urging of the Army staff and the military leadership on post, the Hinesville community stepped forward to be sure that the new troops would have adequate housing and public infrastructure. The Department of Defense also sent the Office of Economic Adjustment to assist the community to properly prepare for the arrival of the new brigade combat team. Investments were made for new schools, roads, infrastructure.
Banks made many loans to property developers who, in turn, purchased land and accelerated their efforts to provide homes and commercial properties to support the arrival of over 10,000 soldiers and family. However, the decision announced by the Army this June has brought all this economic activity to a halt. While some of this infrastructure will be used or absorbed in time, it is clear that without the arrival of the brigade combat team, the city has overbuilt and overinvested.
The economic hardship would not have occurred without the BRAC-based decision to bring additional troops and the Army's insistence that Hinesville get aggressively involved. The community support in Fort Stewart still has much to offer for the Army.
I stand here in support of the provisions within this bill that will help address the hardship incurred by the small rural communities that support Fort Stewart.
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