The Senate Armed Services Committee included language in its annual policy bill that would establish a DOD program to provide funding to state and local governments for off-base infrastructure projects, matching similar language in the House version of the fiscal 2019 defense authorization bill. Both versions would authorize a program for the department to award grants to address deficiencies in community infrastructure if the assistance will enhance the military value, resilience or military family quality of life at an installation.
There are several differences between the two versions, though. The Senate provision, section 2834, would create a pilot program that runs out Sept. 30, 2023; the House’s Defense Community Infrastructure Program would be permanent. And while the House version would require participants to contribute at least 20 percent of the total project cost, the Senate language calls for a state or local government to contribute at least 30 percent. Both versions would allow DOD to waive the cost-share requirement for rural communities, with the Senate provision also allowing the requirement to be waived “for reasons related to national security.”
The Senate Armed Services Committee approved S. 2987 on May 23, but the bill text was not released until Wednesday. The House passed its version of the authorization bill on May 24. The Senate began debating S. 2987 on Wednesday. Once the chamber approves the measure, a conference committee would reconcile differences between the two bills, including the competing provisions establishing a defense community infrastructure program.