2011 Spending Agreement Includes Schools Funding
While the recent compromise over funding the government for the remainder of fiscal 2011 includes a record $40 billion in cuts to federal spending compared to the previous year, it provides a substantial infusion of funds for several new activities benefiting defense communities.
The largest allocates up to $300 million to Maryland and Virginia for projects needed to accommodate the traffic growth associated with the realignment of Walter Reed Army Medical Center to Bethesda and Fort Belvoir. Because the language designates the funds for transportation infrastructure improvement projects associated with medical facilities affected by BRAC, some of the funds potentially could be directed to San Antonio, home of Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston.
The other provision providing a significant funding injection allocates $250 million for construction, renovation, repair or expansion of elementary and secondary public schools located on installations. Priority consideration for distributing the funds — which would flow through DOD’s Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) or be transferred to the Department of Education — should be given to bases with schools suffering the most severe capacity or facility condition deficiencies, according to the bill language.
Funding for OEA — which will be responsible for disbursing the outside-the-gate transportation funds as well as the schools funding — will be $50.8 million in the current fiscal year, the same as the president’s request.
Another provision of the spending measure provides $20 million for energy security pilot projects at DOD facilities, led by the deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment in collaboration with the Energy Department.
President Obama signed the FY 2011 appropriations bill into law Friday. For detailed funding levels in the defense spending portion, go to the House Rules Committee website.