Congressman Chris Smith today announced that the $101.57 million in funding for projects scheduled at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst this year is safe from being diverted to fund the southern border security projects covered by President Donald Trump’s Emergency Declaration of February 15.
“These projects are not at risk,” Smith said after having been assured by the Department of Defense that awards for anticipated construction at the Joint Base are on schedule to be awarded in the current fiscal year. “Nothing at the Joint Base will be cut.”
Smith’s statement today reiterated a quote he gave to NJ.com yesterday in a report that $41 million in funding for projects at the Picatinny Arsenal in Morris County are at risk.
A Pentagon document outlining military construction projects which had not yet been awarded funding by December 31, 2019 was reported on Monday. Despite claims that the projects listed in the document could be at risk of being cut, the Pentagon fact sheet states that “No military construction projects that already have been awarded, and no military construction projects with FY 2019 award dates will be impacted” by the February 15 declaration of national emergency that authorized the diversion of funding for military construction projects to the construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Smith was reassured Monday and Tuesday by DoD officials that anticipated projects at the Joint Base—a $10.37 million aircraft apron taxiway and support facility, a $72 million aircraft hangar, another $9 million for building alterations in June, and a $10.2 million hot cargo hydrant system replacement—are all on schedule to be awarded, all in FY 2019.
“That makes our case,” Smith said. “For the Joint Base, all the appropriated funding is scheduled to be contracted within that parameter,” Smith said.
“Any claim that projects at the Joint Base could be ‘cut’ entirely to make room for border wall funding is inaccurate,” Smith said. “Our projects designated for FY 2019 are on track.”
“I am happy to say that the Joint Base will tomorrow be awarded a new $10.37 million aircraft apron taxiway and support facility, and this is just the beginning of an exciting time of growth at the base,” Smith said. “I’ve already been told the Joint Base is likely to be awarded a $72 million hangar at the end of the month for the KC-46A tankers, as well as other new facilities and improvements coming down the pike.”
“I fought hard for the KC-46s for years,” said Smith, who led efforts in the delegation to have the Air Force delegate the new state-of-the-art KC-46A refueling tankers to the Joint Base. “We sweat to make this base thrive.”