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Obama's budget plan would boost JBLM construction

Ted S. Warren
Army Col. Thomas Brittain, (r), and Air Force Col. Kenny Weldon, (r), shake hands upon the merger of Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base into Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Feb. 2010.

Construction at Joint Base Lewis-McChord would increase further if Congress adopts President Obama's 2012 budget proposal.

The News Tribune reports that the spending plan released Monday would set aside more than $300 million for construction at the base south of Tacoma, up from about $172 million in the 2011 budget proposal Congress has yet to approve.

The projects include:

  • $56 million for improvements to a brigade complex
  • $28 million for a training center
  • $21 million for a Special Forces facility

The News Tribune's Adam Ashton reports that the numbers show the Defense Department is serious about catching up with growth at Lewis-McChord. Says Gary Brackett, manager of business and development at the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber:

“There’s such a pressing need for infrastructure development at Joint Base Lewis-McChord that directly supports the operational needs of the installation as well as what still needs to be done for soldiers and families,” said Brackett, who tracks military construction plans and organizes forums for businesses to discuss work around the base.

The newspaper says the 2012 plan would increase total military construction in Washington state to $519 million, about $220 million more than what the Defense Department plans to spend this year. That would rank Washington seventh for military construction money in the country, up from 14th in 2011. 

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