Local News

Spending Bill Could Hamper Bragg's Expansion for Newcomers

Posted February 1, 2007 7:10 p.m. EST

— The wintry weather has called a halt for the moment, but there's a flurry of construction projects under way at Fort Bragg in preparation for newcomers.

As many as 20,000 people could be moving to the Fort Bragg region over the next few years as part of the Pentagon's multibillion-dollar plan to realign the military. However, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed a 2007 spending bill that could threaten the projects long-term.

Workers are framing new barracks and new office complexes in preparation for the Forces Command and Army Reserve Command to relocating to Fayetteville from Fort McPherson in Atlanta.

Congress mandated the latest round of base realignment and closures (BRAC) and set a deadline of November 2011. As it works on spending bills for fiscal year that began last October, however, the new House has passed a funding bill that would slice more than $3 billion from the $5.6 billion requested for BRAC.

"If they don't fund it up front, they can't meet that deadline. So, closing the gate at Fort Mc-Pherson in Atlanta and having the headquarters move here is based on that funding," said retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Paul Dordal, who heads up the BRAC Regional Task Force at Fort Bragg.

Dordal said the post is planning on $250 million of construction in 2009 to build the Forces Command headquarters.

"The designing is supposed to occur for that this year, and if the funding is deleted, then they can't do the designing," Dordal explained.

The fiscal issue does not threaten work that’s under way now, however.

"Anywhere you go on Fort Bragg, you'll see construction at various stages. That construction is already awarded out, and it will continue," said Fort Bragg spokesman Tom McCollum.

Nationwide, Army officials say that 56 percent of BRAC construction planned for 2007 cannot be completed under the funding bill passed by the House. The Senate has not acted, however.