Jun 16 2007

Senate bill would fund key Redstone projects

Huntsville Times

By Shelby Spires

Lawmakers push to keep BRAC work on schedule

A U.S. Senate military spending bill would pay for key Redstone Arsenal buildings that will house new military work and establish a software laboratory, according to U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby's office.

The bill would provide $30 million for the first phase of the Army Materiel Command headquarters building, $73.6 million for a third and largest phase of the Von Braun Office Complex to house the Missile Defense Agency, and $20 million for an Army Software and Engineering Directorate computer research laboratory.

The Army Materiel Command and Missile Defense Agency money is part of a push by Alabama lawmakers to construct buildings needed for the relocation of military work to Redstone. Those moves are expected to bring about 4,500 federal jobs to Huntsville.

"The relocation of the Army Materiel Command headquarters to Redstone Arsenal is a tremendous gain for our state," said Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, who sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee. "Once this move is complete, AMC will be the first four-star command at Redstone, bringing with it 1,800 jobs. One of my highest priorities is to ensure that BRAC-related moves continue on schedule, and I am pleased to know that this funding will allow AMC construction to begin on time."

Shelby said securing the money to build the third phase of the Von Braun complex was essential to keeping the Missile Defense Agency moves on schedule for a 2011 move-in date.

Shelby said the software lab is crucial to supporting Army programs developed on Redstone and throughout the armed forces.

A similar military construction bill passed the U.S. House on Friday. U.S. Rep. Bud Cramer, D-Huntsville, said earlier this week that if Congress can continue to work together on federal spending bills, money for several Redstone projects looks secure.

"There's great concern over war spending and deficits by members of this Congress," said Cramer, who sits on the House Appropriations Committee, "but I think Redstone and Huntsville projects are secure. This Congress is working together to keep this budget process going in a good direction."

The bills will have to be passed by both houses of Congress, agreed on by a conference committee and signed by President Bush. The 2008 budget year begins Oct. 1.