Bill Would Establish $177M Fund For Capital Projects At Massachusetts Military Bases
Defense Communities 360
June 27, 2013
A $177 million bond bill backed by Gov. Deval Patrick (D) to fund capital projects at six military installations in Massachusetts is advancing in the state legislature.
The measure was approved by the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security on Thursday and next will go to the House Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets or Ways and Means, reported the State House News Service.
The bill stems from an initiative launched at the beginning of the year to conduct comprehensive energy audits at each of the commonwealth’s six installations to identify opportunities for renewable energy development. The effort was prompted by recommendations from the Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force, a panel established in February 2012 by then-Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray (D) to look for ways the state can support its installations.
“We are the only state to propose a military bond bill for all of our bases, and if this bill passes, we will be the only state to create a funding mechanism through our Department of Energy Resources to fund a first-in-the-nation initiative to work with all six bases to develop and fund projects to reduce energy operating costs and enhance energy security,” Brig. Gen. Robert Brooks of the Massachusetts National Guard told a legislative committee Thursday.
The fund would be used for projects at the Massachusetts Military Reservation, Westover Air Reserve Base, Barnes Air National Guard Base, Natick Soldier Systems Center, Fort Devens and Hanscom Air Force Base.
The magnitude and the scope of the bond bill may be unprecedented; however, other states have funded projects on military installations in the past, most notably Connecticut. Since 2005, the state has spent over $11 million for a variety of projects to support Naval Submarine Base New London in an effort to strengthen its standing in a future BRAC round.