Alaska in line for $189 in military projects

Posted: Friday, May 12, 2000

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A military construction bill pending in Congress would allocate $189 million for Alaska, much of it for projects at the two bases near Fairbanks.

The measure calls for spending more than $117 million on projects at Fort Wainwright and Eielson Air Force Base. Biggest projects for Wainwright are $31.2 million for new housing and $44 million for the second phase of work on the new $120 million hospital expected to be finished by 2004.

At Eielson, $25 million would be spent for a central staging area and $14.5 million for dorms. The bill would also authorize $1.5 million for hazardous material storage.

At Elmendorf Air Force Base near Anchorage, the government would spend $11.6 million to upgrade hangars, $7.7 million for a child care center and $6.4 million for a Marine Reserve center. Fort Richardson projects include $3 million for a vehicle wash plant, $2.5 million for an urban warfare training center and $1.5 million to add to the fire station. At the Kulis Air National Guard Base, $12 million would be spent for a building where aircraft would be treated for corrosion.

New housing at Fort Wainwright is a a high-priority item.

''It's a quality of life issue for recruitment and retention,'' said Maj. Les Kodlick, a spokesman for the Alaska Command in Anchorage. ''It's a priority across the services.''

The new housing will include 75 officer-grade units in eight-plexes. An additional 28 units around Fort Wainwright will be remodeled.

Under the committee's proposed military construction bill, Fort Wainwright would also receive $900,000 for a biathlon live-fire course and $280,000 to expand and light trails at the Birch Hill ski area.

Debate on the measure began in the Senate Thursday, according to an aide to Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska. A vote is scheduled for Tuesday.

The spending plan is still tentative. If the Senate approves, the bill will then go to a conference committee to be reconciled with the House's spending plans. Then it goes to the president.

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