A Navy demolition crew removes a 1970’s metal-framed building from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam facility inventory. Building debris was segregated for recovery of recyclable materials.
(U.S. Navy photo by Denise Emsley, NAVFAC Hawaii Public Affairs)
On July 13, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill for fiscal year 2018. U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), ranking member of the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee, worked to include $266.3 million for military construction and upgrade projects across Hawaii and $78.4 billion that will benefit veterans' programs, including those in Hawaii.
“Our effort to secure more than $266 million in funding for Hawaii is well on its way,” said Schatz, lead Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs. “I know how critical this funding is to Hawaii, to the success of our military, and to our national security, which is why I'm glad to see this bill clear this hurdle. I'm also pleased that this bill takes care of our veterans in Hawaii, showing that we can build for the future while also honoring those who made it possible. I look forward to seeing this bill pass the Senate and be signed into law soon.”
Funding for Hawaii military construction projects in this bill is approximately $53 million over the enacted FY2017 bill. The bill provides $258.6 million to fully fund all of Hawaii's military construction projects in the president's budget. This includes:
• $90 million for the Army's Command and Control Facility at Fort Shafter;
• $73.2 million for a sewer lift station and relief sewer line at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam;
• $19.012 million for new MV-22 landing pads at Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay;
• $65.864 million for a Communication/Crypto facility in Wahiawa;
• $5.5 million for a consolidated training facility for the Air Force Reserve at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam; and
• $5 million for the NSA facility at Kunia for improvements to its tunnel entrance.
The bill also funds two Energy Resilience and Conservation Investment Program projects to improve energy security and water conservation at military installations in Hawaii. These projects include:
• $6.2 million for HVAC upgrades at Kaneohe Bay; and
• $1.4 million for salt water pumping system for the Navy at JBPHH.
The legislation also includes a requirement that the Navy develop an investment strategy to improve each of the public shipyards, including Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard which the Navy has identified has an urgent requirement to extend Dry Dock 3 so that it can maintain fleet readiness in the Pacific.
In addition to military construction, the bill provides $78.4 billion to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), $4 billion more than what was enacted in fiscal year 2017. In particular, the bill includes:
• $110 million to fund VA's grants for the construction of state extended care facilities, which will make progress toward funding a new 120-bed facility in Honolulu;
• an additional $20 million for women veterans' care, which will help ensure that the more than 13,000 women veterans in Hawaii have access to care; and
• a mandate for the VA to develop a better construction plan to replace a Hilo community-based outpatient clinic, which has to be closed because it is in a tsunami risk zone.
This bill will now be reported to the full Senate for consideration.