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$14.5 million in contracts awarded for Martinsburg Air Guard base upgrades

July 30, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., announced Tuesday that $14.5 million in contracts has been awarded for the construction of a C-5 squadron operations facility, the continued development of the Martinsburg Air National Guard Base parking apron and for runway expansion projects at the airport.

In addition, Byrd, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced that he has included $850,000 in legislation that recently cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee to complete the design of taxiway upgrades at the base.

A $7.75 million contract awarded to Head Inc. of Columbus, Ohio, will support construction of the parking apron and runway expansion projects, which are needed to accommodate the C-5 aircraft to be stationed at the airport. Byrd included funding for the project in legislation that was signed into law last year.

A $6.79 million contract awarded to W. Harley Miller Contractors Inc. of Martinsburg, W.Va., will fund the construction of a facility to house 167th Airlift Squadron operations for C-5 missions. The facility will include offices for administration, flight planning, current operations and life support, as well as briefing and training rooms. Funding for the project was included in the FY '08 budget request.

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In addition, Byrd announced that he added $850,000 for taxiway upgrades to the FY '09 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bill. The funds will support upgrades necessary to accommodate the enormous weight of the C-5s.

After working with Department of Defense officials since 1999, Byrd announced in 2002 that 10 C-5 transport planes would be based at the West Virginia Air National Guard's 167th Airlift Wing in Martinsburg. Initially, the C-5 airplanes will result in a $250 million federal investment to upgrade and expand the entire Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport facility.

The first of a new fleet of C-5 aircraft landed in Martinsburg on Dec. 4, 2006. Once the C-5 unit is fully operational, the 167th Airlift Wing anticipates an additional 200 full-time jobs and the annual economic impact is expected to increase to at least $50 million a year.

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