Nearly $4 million diverted from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to disaster relief

Local News

FAIRBORN, Ohio (WDTN) – Wright-Patterson Air Force Base will lose nearly $4 million designated for two projects, as that money will now head to other bases impacted by natural disasters.

It will help fund rebuilding Tyndall Air Force Base outside of Panama City Beach in Florida which was devastated by Hurricane Michael, and Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, which is dealing with flooding aftermath. 

Air Force Secretary, Heather Wilson, tweeted about the funding being diverted.

She said in total, 61 projects from 18 states are being cut by the Air Force, and said that could be just the beginning.

Marie Vanover with Wright-Patt said the slashed money would have funded renovating a building to support readiness training requirements, and replacing a cooling tower and condenser water lines.

Congress did pass a disaster relief bill that accounted for some of the damage at the two bases, but it did not pass the Senate.

That’s because it calls for a significantly less amount of aid to Puerto Rico than Democrats asked for, but President Trump said he believed Puerto Rico was getting too much money.

Republican Congressman Mike Turner told 2NEWS in a statement, “The Air Force has been forced to cannibalize its own funding because of hurricane damage to U.S. Air Force bases. Funding that would solve this is currently stalled in the Senate. When this funding becomes available, we will have the opportunity to seek replacement dollars for other Air Force needs.”

Republican Senator Rob Portman said he voted in favor of the GOP sponsored disaster relief bill. Adding, “I will work with the Secretary’s staff to assess the impact to Wright-Patterson and do everything I can to ensure these critical projects at Wright-Patterson are funded.”

Senator Sherrod Brown said this about Wright Patt losing funding, “The House of Representatives passed disaster funding months ago and the Senate could pass it today if President Trump and Congressional Republicans would stop playing political games with Puerto Rico and do their jobs.”

Wilson said the Air Force requires $1.2 billion in fiscal year 2019, and $3.7 billion in fiscal years 2020 and 2021 of supplemental funding to rebuild Tyndall AFB and recover Offutt AFB. 

If they do not receive that funding by May or June, other critical facility and readiness requirement projects may be cut.

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