FAIRBANKS - A military spending bill approved this week by the Senate Appropriations Committee could include as much as $125 million for new construction at Fort Wainwright.
The funding, which still needs the backing of the full House and Senate, would support Task Force 49, an aviation unit that has been stationed and deployed from Fort Wainwright since 2007, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Thursday.
Next year's construction could accommodate nearly 300 additional soldiers, and the Army said permanently stationing the task force at Fort Wainwright would ultimately expand the post by more than 700 soldiers and 40 new helicopters.
The Senate committee included money to increase parking and construct barracks, storage buildings, vehicle maintenance facilities, bringing as much as $125 million in new construction to the post as early as next summer. The House Appropriations Committee has already approved $95 million for the same project in the upcoming fiscal year.
The post expansion must still must pass an environmental review. An environmental impact statement is due in September.
The House and Senate committees also included $28 million for a complex designed to treat wounded soldiers at Fort Wainwright, $24.3 million to build a backup power plant at Clear Air Force Station and $26 million for a rail complex at Fort Wainwright. The rail complex would allow more railcars to be loaded per day. Right now, 49 cars can be loaded per day with Stryker vehicles, trucks and containers, and an expanded facility could more than double that number.
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, also included $9.9 million for Arctic utilidors and $3.4 million for taxiway lighting at Eielson Air Force Base. That money is not included in the House version of the appropriations bill.
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