Pentagon Needs to Improve Defense Roads Program, Senate Appropriators Say
The Defense Department should improve the Defense Access Roads (DAR) program, focusing on adjusting the eligibility criteria, the Senate Appropriations Committee said in its report accompanying the fiscal 2012 military construction and veterans affairs spending bill.
The lawmakers direct DOD to address the recommendations included in recent reviews of the DAR program by the Government Accountability Office and the National Academy of Sciences Transportation Research Board. The program is the only federal mechanism for the military to fund improvements to roads outside of an installation.
For major metropolitan areas, the “most serious problem” for the program is the requirement that existing road traffic must double, an impossible circumstance when traffic already is highly congested, the committee report said.
The lawmakers also encourage the department to prepare a plan to eliminate the backlog of road projects needed to mitigate traffic impacts facing mission growth communities from the most recent round of base closures. DOD should incorporate transportation infrastructure requirements into future basing decisions, they added.
The committee approved the FY 2012 milcon spending bill Thursday.
The measure calls for spending $259 million for BRAC 2005 and $324 million for the BRAC 1990 account, which funds environmental cleanup from the first four base closure rounds. Funding for legacy BRAC bases would be cut by $37 million compared to the current fiscal year. BRAC 2005 received $2.4 billion for FY 2011, which is intended to be the last year to carry out the recommendations.
Overall, the Senate panel would provide $13.7 billion for all of the bill’s military construction accounts, $1.0 billion below the president’s request. That shortfall would all come out of the account for active component milcon projects, including operational, training and research facilities, readiness centers, barracks, schools, hospitals and clinics. The bill calls for $11.1 billion for active and reserve component milcon projects.
Family housing programs would receive $1.7 billion, the same as the president’s request but $125 million below the FY 2011 enacted amount.