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Money for C-5s clears another funding hurdle

June 27, 2003

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., Thursday advanced funding for the soon-to-be National Guard C-5 fleet at Martinsburg, W.Va.

Byrd on Thursday won approval from the full Senate Appropriations Committee for almost $31 million in planning, design, and construction funding for preparation for the C-5 fleet. Byrd added the funding to the fiscal year 2004 Military Construction Appropriations bill.

Committee approval clears the way for the legislation to be voted on by the full Senate.

Of that funding, $20 million will upgrade the aircraft apron, fuel storage capabilities, and hydrant fuel system. Another $5.8 million is for construction of a new, state-of-the-art air traffic control tower. The final $5 million will be dedicated to the planning and design of maintenance facilities and other upgrades to the airport infrastructure needed to accommodate the C-5 fleet.

Earlier this year, Byrd won congressional authorization for the funding for the work at the Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport, which is home to the 167th National Guard Airlift Wing. Authorization is the first step in the funding process. Appropriations - the area on which Byrd is focusing now - is the second step.

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"The 167th National Guard Airlift Wing has proved time and time again that it is among the best trained, best prepared units in the country," Byrd said in a news release.

Currently, the base is home to a fleet of C-130 transport planes. This new C-5 mission will guarantee that the 167th continues to play a vital role in the country's defense around the world for many years, Byrd said.

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