December 16, 2009

CARDIN, MIKULSKI & VAN HOLLEN FIGHTING FOR $300 MILLION FOR BRAC TRAFFIC FIX IN NATIONAL CAPITOL REGION

House Defense Bill Includes Transportation Upgrades Connecting New Walter Reed and Fort Belvoir Hospitals to Surrounding Communities; Senate vote expected in coming days

Washington, DC - Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski and Congressman Chris Van Hollen (all D-Md.) welcomed the House's passage of the Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Appropriations Bill which includes $300 million for BRAC-related transportation mitigation efforts at the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Virginia. Both installations and their surrounding communities stand to be heavily impacted by the 2005 BRAC-mandated consolidation, set to conclude in September 2011.

Senators Mikulski and Cardin are working in the Senate to ensure the federal funds remain in the Defense bill, which is currently under consideration in the Senate. A vote is expected in the coming days. Once passed, it will then be sent to the President for his signature.
 
"The DoD Appropriations bill passed by the House and headed to the Senate for passage is good news for the thousands of wounded warriors and their families who use the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, as well as Montgomery County's beleaguered commuters," Senator Cardin said. "As a delegation, we have been united in our effort to provide needed federal support for the expanded medical facility and the tens of thousands of new military and civilian jobs being brought to our state through the BRAC process. I am pleased that we are able to make such an unprecedented investment in a truly world -class facility."
 
"I fought in the Senate to BRAC-proof Maryland's bases, now I am working to BRAC-ready our transportation systems. Our troops fight overseas to protect our freedom, they shouldn't have to fight traffic to get the care they've earned when they get back," said Senator Mikulski, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. "The Walter Reed National Military Center at Bethesda will be the frontline in delivering care to our wounded warriors. I am proud to partner with my Team Maryland colleagues to make BRAC a success and secure the federal funding needed to meet the increased demands on our communities."
 
"I am especially pleased that today's DoD Appropriations bill includes an unprecedented fund of $300 million set aside for the purpose of mitigating BRAC-related transportation and community impacts at the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Fort Belvoir ," said Congressman Van Hollen. "Congress is committed to building world class facilities for our wounded warriors in the national capital region, and these funds are an integral part of that effort.   I want to thank Congressman Moran, Chairman Murtha, and Chairman Obey, as well as Senator Mikulski and Senator Cardin, for their partnership on this initiative.  I look forward to working with our Senate colleagues, the Department of Defense, and other stakeholders to make these funds available for their intended purpose at the soonest possible date."
 
Maryland's Congressional delegation has fought to prepare Maryland communities and military bases for the 2005 BRAC process. The BRAC Commission's recommendations were a huge success and will bring 45,000 to 60,000 new jobs to Maryland by 2020 as well as new sources of state revenue.