Federal omnibus spending bill good news for Travis base
FAIRFIELD — Two Travis Air Force Base construction projects received funding in the omnibus spending bill that got passed Thursday by the U.S. House of Representatives, according to Rep. John Garamendi’s office.
“It is all good news,” Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, said about how Travis will be affected.
Travis’ highest priority military construction projects were taken care of in the bill – $107 million for a three-bay maintenance hangar and $7.7 million for a corrosion control hangar.
Garamendi said he was told in recent conversations with Air Mobility Command that every effort would be made to use local contractors and workers on these projects.
“The key components for the KC-46 (jet air refuelers) is now in place,” Garamendi said of the Air Force’s new air tanker that Travis hopes to have stationed here.
There is also $2.9 billion in KC-46 Pegasus air refueling aircraft procurement for 18 aircraft, which was three more aircraft than originally requested in the budget.
The KC-46s are part of a healthy dose of 143 aircraft for all the services that the bill is paying for.
The KC-46 funding adds more certainty that they will arrive at Travis on schedule in 2023 if the base is chosen this summer to become home to between 24 and 26 of the aircraft.
Travis service members, along with the rest of the military, could see more money in their paychecks: The bill contains a 2.9 percent pay raise for them.
The funding is part of that massive $1.3 trillion, 2,232-page spending bill that funds the government through Sept. 30. The bill is now making its way to the Senate.
The military is getting $654.6 billion overall, which includes $65.2 billion for overseas contingency operations. It is a $61.4 billion increase over the 2017 enacted bill.
Garamendi called the increase “a significant upgrade” for the military.
President Donald Trump’s budget had eliminated a significant amount of money for transit grants, “and we simply rejected that,” Garamendi said.
The discretionary grants will now be available for groups such as the Solano Transportation Authority to apply for.
“We will work diligently with the STA to place the applications,” Garamendi said.
Transit funding for Amtrak, which runs the Capitol Corridor trains, and bus systems was increased. So was funding for continued improvements for projects such as continued improvement of the Interstate 80/Interstate 680/Highway 12 interchange.
Funding for the Army Corps of Engineers was increased, which could help the long odds Garamendi faces to get the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the channel between Suisun City and Suisun Bay.
There is also money in the legislation to monitor water quality in the Sacramento River Delta and monitor the health of the Delta’s fish species in real time.
Garamendi represents California’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes a large swath of Solano County to include Fairfield and Travis Air Force Base, Suisun City, Vacaville, Rio Vista and Dixon. He has a district office in Fairfield.