Landrieu Secures $70.1M for Fort Polk, Nearly $30M for Barksdale
New Orleans VA hospital to receive $60 million
WASHINGTON - United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., today announced that Congress has appropriated $70.1 million for Fort Polk and nearly $30 million for Barksdale Air Force Base (AFB). It also passed $60 million to help finance the permanent construction of a VA hospital in New Orleans. This funding was championed by Sen. Landrieu and was included year-end federal funding legislation that passed the Senate today. The measure has already passed the House and now goes to the President to be signed into law.
Of the $70.1 million in funds for Fort Polk, $27 million is slated for land acquisition, a main priority for the Senator. Sen. Landrieu recently sent a letter to Secretary of the Army John McHugh expressing her support for additional land acquisition for the post. The Army is working with the current owners of the initial 8,250 acres of land that the Army has sought to purchase. According to the Army, a deal is expected by the end of the year.
"Fort Polk serves Louisiana and our nation with great distinction, and it is critical that it has the necessary support to fulfill its mission, provide for the soldiers and families stationed there, and continue its growth," Sen. Landrieu said. "The expansion of Fort Polk is of great importance to nearby communities, as well as for the Post itself - I will continue to do everything I can to support Fort Polk in its mission and expansion."
FY 2012 Funding for Fort Polk
• $9.2 million for the Fort Polk Fire Station
• $2.6 million for the Fort Polk Military Working Dog Facility
• $23 million for the Fort Polk Brigade Complex
• $8.3 million for the Fort Polk Multipurpose Machine Gun Range
• $27 million for the Fort Polk Land Acquisition In addition, the bill provides $23.5 million for the Barksdale Air Force Base Mission Support Group Complex and $6.2 million for the Barksdale Air Force Base Hydrant Fuel System.
Barksdale is one of two finalists for the 2012 Commander in Chief's Annual Award for Installation Excellence. This award recognizes the brave men and woman who operate and maintain Department of Defense installations and who have done the best with the resources given to them to support the mission. It also encourages commanders to improve quality of life.
"The men and women of Barksdale are leaders in the effort to provide our military families with high quality of life and educational opportunities - their excellent work is being recognized by their nomination for this Installation Excellence Award," Sen. Landrieu said. "There is no other Air Force base that is more deserving of this award. I will continue working to support Barksdale in its important work."Sen. Landrieu also secured $60 million to finance the final construction phase of a permanent, regional New Orleans VA hospital. A small outpatient clinic, in addition to local and regional civilian medical facilities, has served as the primary provider of veteran health care since Hurricane Katrina.
"Our servicemen and women are stationed across the world, spending long periods of time away from their families and risking their lives to defend our freedoms and way of life. When our troops come home, the least we can do is ensure they receive the highest quality medical care," Sen. Landrieu said. "With the $60 million in this legislation, we are an important step closer to a permanent, state of the art VA hospital in New Orleans that will improve care, cut costs and provide critical services to our brave veterans."
Sen. Landrieu's work on the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill continues her tireless and ongoing support for Louisiana military families and communities.