Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) has asked the state Legislature to allocate $15 million from the state’s share of the BP oil spill economic settlement to build a new main gate at Keesler Air Force Base.
A new gate on Division Street would replace the existing one on White Avenue, which presents a security risk due to train tracks immediately south of it, according to Biloxi Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich. A new gate is needed to meet the security standards of DOD and the Air Force, Gilich said, reported the Biloxi Sun Herald.
The project also would bolster Keesler’s position in a future BRAC round. Bryant cited concerns about a looming base closure round in letter to House Speaker Phillip Gunn requesting the funds.
“Base commanders and local leadership have identified opening a new, secure gate complex on Division Street as a priority,” Bryant said. “Base security must be taken seriously at all times, but particularly in the post-9/11 era, the real or perceived lack of secure access points could put our military bases at risk for closure,” he wrote.
The estimated cost to build a new gate and access from I-110 is $37 million, with most of the expense coming outside the gate, according to the story.