The Oklahoman - Chris Casteel
Oklahoma military facilities would get nearly $77 million for construction projects under a spending bill approved Wednesday by a House committee.
As in the past couple of years, the Air Force's planned refueling tanker, the KC-46A, is the reason for a big portion of new construction money at state bases.Tinker Air Force Base, which will maintain the new planes, got $37 million last year for KC-46A-related construction. In the bill passed Wednesday by the House Appropriations Committee, the Oklahoma County base would receive $17 million for a KC-46A "integration laboratory.
"Boeing is supposed to begin delivery of the planes in the middle of next year, though congressional auditors warned recently that the schedule may slip.Altus Air Force Base, which will host some of the pilot training for the KC-46A, also has reaped millions in construction money to prepare for the plane. This year, it received $10 million for a fuel cell hangar. In the bill approved Wednesday, it would get $11.6 million for a KC-46A simulator training facility.
The bill, which now goes to the full House, would cover the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. The legislation also includes money for veterans programs.
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, whose district includes Tinker and Fort Sill, is on the committee that approved the bill.
“The legislation advanced out of committee reflects the bipartisan commitment to providing first-rate tools, resources and care to our brave individuals from the moment they commit to serve onward, including funding to implement solutions that ensure our veterans receive care in a timely manner," he said.
"I am particularly pleased that the legislation invests in the military installations located across the state of Oklahoma.”
The National Guard Readiness Center in Ardmore, which is also in Cole's district, would get $22 million in construction money.In addition to the KC-46A money, Tinker would get $26 million for an E-3G flight simulator training facility; the E-3G is an Air Force plane with Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) capability recently upgraded at Tinker.
Online: The Oklahoman