wall

A pair of Fort Hood construction projects worth more than $40 million could be nixed if the Defense Department moves that money to help build a border wall as part of President Donald Trump’s recent emergency declaration.

The two projects are a $33 million vehicle maintenance facility and a $9.6 million supply support facility. Both were marked in the Defense Department’s planned Fiscal Year 2020 budget.

A DOD document released earlier this week included $12.8 billion of construction projects military-wide that a portion of could go to help fund the border wall instead. The Defense Department is expected make a final decision on which projects would be cut at a later date.

Fort Hood’s two construction projects are needed for the post, according to the Killeen-based Heart of Texas Defense Alliance, a nonprofit that analyzes government information regarding future plans affecting Fort Hood.

The new vehicle maintenance facility, or motorpool, would be “the first one to replace the 1950s/1960s era facilities,” that dot Fort Hood, Heart of Texas Defense Alliance Executive Director Keith Sledd said in an email to the Herald. “These facilities are key to sustaining modern military equipment and the continually increasing complexity of weapons systems.”

He said about 43 percent of the motorpools on post were built in the 1950s and ’60s, and are outdated to properly support modern — and often bigger — Army vehicles in use today.

The situation with the $9.6 million supply facility is similar to the vehicle maintenance facilities, said Sledd, a retired Army colonel.

“It will replace an older, inadequate facility in one of the brigade combat teams,” he said. “The new facility will provide adequate size, configuration, electrical and communication infrastructure to support the spare parts and supplies required to keep a brigade combat team’s equipment serviceable and the brigade ready for employment.”

Including the Fort Hood projects, about $265 million for construction and other projects on military bases in Texas could be diverted to build walls on the southern border, according to a report this week in the Texas Tribune.

The president signed his emergency declaration after a five-week government shutdown spurred when Congress refused to approve $5.7 billion that Trump requested for border barriers. The president issued a national emergency declaration last month that would divert billions in defense spending to construct the barriers. The U.S. House and Senate voted recently to oppose the declaration, but the president vetoed the measure, according to the Tribune.

All that said, it is important to note three things when it comes to projects on the potential chopping block, according to Sledd: “1) No family housing or barracks projects are affected, 2) No projects that are contracted and awarded are affected, and 3) If selected the projects would be delayed and not necessarily cancelled.”

Fort Hood officials had no comment on the issue, and referred questions to the Defense Department.

krobertson@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7552

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