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Construction surge coming to Stewart
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Fort Stewart would receive $438 million in funding for new buildings and infrastructure, if the record $3.1 trillion budget proposed by President Bush last week is approved by Congress.
With post officials readying for the addition of a new infantry brigade combat team and the 3,900 soldiers coming with it in 2011, most of the money would be used to build additional facilities to accommodate the influx of troops, U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Savannah) said.
An outline of Bush's budget shows the 3rd Infantry Division would receive $121 million for barracks and dining facilities, $30 million for a brigade complex, $36 million for a brigade/battalion headquarters, $75 million for a company operations facility and $67 million for a vehicle maintenance shop.
The proposal comes two months after the Department of Defense announced Fort Stewart was one of three posts chosen to get more troops as part of an initiative to increase the Army by six combat brigades by 2013.
The installation will be home to two of these new brigades with the infantry combat team on the way and the conversion of a heavy brigade combat team currently on the post into an infantry brigade in 2010.
Including family members and support personnel, the addition of the 3,900 soldiers is expected to have a total impact of 12,000 people and reach nearly 28,500 individuals over the next five years.
It is the kind of population boom that Kingston said will boost the local economy and create new jobs in the area's construction industry, which should benefit substantially from the nearly $440 million in upcoming building projects.
"I think that while so many parts of the country are looking for new jobs, this is almost an assurance that there will be a lot of work in our area," he said.
And despite some critics of Bush's proposal calling it a "lame-duck budget plan" likely to be ignored or reworked by lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Kingston said he is confident the money for Fort Stewart will be delivered as outlined by the president.
"We can generally get bipartisan support on something like this and as a member of the defense committee I will work to make sure that the money is protected and doesn't just disappear," he said. "With the new soldiers coming in there's a great case for this funding for Fort Stewart that the White House has recognized...and I'm ready to fight to keep (the funding) in the budget."
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