Congress today passed legislation authorizing $230 million in federal funding for improvements at Fort Meade, Aberdeen Proving Ground and other military facilities in Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger's (D-MD) district. The funding was included in the FY2012 "National Defense Authorization Act" that passed by a vote of 283-136 in the House on Wednesday and 86-13 in the Senate on Thursday. The bill now goes to the President for his signature.
"America's men and women in uniform courageously answered the call to serve their country and deserve support for their sacrifices," said Congressman Ruppersberger, a member of the House Armed Services Committee. "This bill pays for some of the most pressing needs at Maryland military facilities while acknowledging our responsibility to reduce government spending and reign in the federal deficit."
The bill includes language that will establish a dedicated funding source that could help Maryland and other states prepare for the traffic impacts of military base realignment known as BRAC. It also includes Congressman Ruppersberger's bill creating the "Hotels for Heroes" program to allow Americans to donate hotel reward points to members of the Armed Forces.
The program, which will benefit troops receiving care through the military health system and their families, is an expansion of the national "Hero Miles" program that provides free round-trip airfare to wounded warriors. Flights under the "Hero Miles" program, which was created by Congressman Ruppersberger in 2003, are made possible through frequent flyer mile donations.
The eight projects at military facilities in Congressman Ruppersberger's district funded by the bill are:
$43 million for Applied Instruction Facility (Fort Meade)
$36 million for Brigade Complex (Fort Meade)
$29.6 million for High Performance Computer (Fort Meade)
$15.5 million for Auto Technology Evaluation Facility (APG)
$63 million for Command and Control Facility (APG)
$22.8 million for U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense Replacement (APG)
$16 million for Army National Guard Readiness Center (Dundalk)
$4.9 million for Air National Guard's C-27 Conversion (Martin State Airport)