Isles get funds
for military projects
The millions awarded forBy Pete Pichaske
construction could break
last year's record
Phillips News Service
WASHINGTON -- Congress showered a record amount of military construction money on Hawaii last year. This year, it might break that record.
A House Armed Services subcommittee yesterday voted to spend $204 million on military construction in the isles next year, about four times what the Pentagon had requested and slightly more than what was approved last year.
In addition, the panel set aside another $500 million, to be spread out over 12 years, for a long-sought Navy development on Ford Island. The extensive development, a joint public-private venture, would include family housing, single enlisted quarters and shopping and recreational facilities.
"I think we've put together something that will have a lasting impact on our economy," said Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Honolulu, a member of the subcommittee who lobbied for the Ford Island money. "This will give the Navy housing facilities they would never have been able to fund in the appropriations process."
The added military housing, said Abercrombie, also could help insulate Hawaii against future base closures, which have been proposed by the Clinton administration.
For the past few years, Hawaii has enjoyed great success in securing generous amounts of military construction money.
In fact, the funding approved by House committees such as the Armed Services is usually increased in the Senate, where Sen. Daniel Inouye is senior Democrat on the defense appropriations subcommittee.
Last year, Congress set aside a record $203 million in military construction funds for Hawaii, and another $20 million for the Army to buy land on Oahu for a training area.
The major spending projects the subcommittee approved for next year include:
$49 million to continue barracks renovations at Schofield Barracks.
$30.2 million for 133 family housing units at Pearl Harbor.
$29.5 million for a berthing wharf at Pearl Harbor Submarine Base.
$26.6 million for 100 family housing units at Kaneohe Marine Base.
$19.2 million for 96 family housing units at Pearl Harbor.
$18.6 million to modernize single enlisted quarters at Pearl Harbor.