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Bill includes funds for Martinsburg guard base

July 08, 2009

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The Senate Appropriations Committee has passed spending legislation that includes $19.5 million for taxiway improvements at Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport, U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd's office announced Wednesday.

The taxiway project is the last to be funded as part of the $280 million transformation of the Air National Guard facility for the 167th Airlift Wing's new C-5 aircraft mission, according to a news release.

The current taxiway was designed for small- and medium-weight aircraft and requires structural upgrades to make it serviceable to accommodate the conversion of the base to the much heavier C-5 aircraft, of which 10 are now stationed there, according to Byrd's office.

The funding measure still must be passed by the Senate on the floor and then be "reconciled" with a House bill before President Obama would consider signing the bill, according to Byrd's office.

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The bill also includes language that urges the Department of Veterans Affairs to include sufficient funding for planning and design work associated with the renovation and expansion at the Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center in President Obama's 2011 fiscal year budget request.

The $36 million project would include approximately 58,000 square feet of renovation and 31,000 square feet of new construction, according to Byrd's office.

"I am pleased that the Committee approved this language to move these projects forward in the next fiscal year," Byrd said in the news release. "These Medical Centers are a critical component in helping heal our veterans and the sooner we complete these projects the sooner they will be able to utilize these new facilities."

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