Tinker, others to get $74M in stimulus funds

Published: Monday, March 30, 2009 7:00 am By: Chris Casteel

The Oklahoman

WASHINGTON -- Tinker Air Force Base will get more than $44 million in federal stimulus funds to make a variety of repairs and improvements.

Tinker led all of the state's military installations in projects approved by the Department of Defense, which got $7.4 billion to spend in the $780 billion stimulus package.

In all, the department plans to spend nearly $74 million in Oklahoma, according to a list of projects released by the Pentagon.

Of the 67 projects, 42 are at Tinker.

They range from roof repairs to anti-terrorism protection upgrades for buildings and at base gates. Ron Mullan, a Tinker spokesman, said the projects selected by the Defense Department came from a list of 71 submitted by base officials.

A major emphasis of the stimulus package was on projects that can be started quickly to create or save jobs, and Mullan said Tinker's projects are "ready to execute."

Only one member of the Oklahoma congressional delegation, Rep. Dan Boren, voted for the stimulus bill. The Army ammunition plant in his district got the second-largest allotment from the Defense Department -- $14.5 million for family housing, utility repairs, rail line work and road repaving.

"I am very pleased this stimulus funding is coming to Oklahoma's military installations and especially to the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant," Boren, D-Muskogee, said. "These projects will improve our state's military bases so they remain an integral part of our nation's military service and thereby keep thousands of jobs in Oklahoma.

"The projects will also provide jobs in the McAlester area from the contracts that are used to complete the work. Job creation and infrastructure projects are two of the chief reasons I supported the stimulus."

Fort Sill -- already in the midst of a construction boom to accommodate the Air Defense Artillery School moving from Texas -- will get more than $9 million, with the largest projects aimed at modernizing health care facilities and medical records on the post, which is adjacent to Lawton.

Vance Air Force Base in Enid got one project, for $3 million, to repair a taxiway. Altus Air Force Base got three projects worth about $1.8 million, including nearly $800,000 for sewer repair.

The Oklahoma Military Department and a few National Guard and Reserve sites also got money for energy system updates.

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