Nearly $46 million intended for construction projects at three military bases in Indiana could be diverted to the expansion of barriers along the U.S. border with Mexico, the Defense Department says.
The projects in potential jeopardy are at the Grissom Air Reserve Base southwest of Peru, the Crane Army Ammunition Activity plant southwest of Bloomington and Terre Haute’s Hulman Regional Airport, which is used by the Air National Guard’s 181st Intelligence Wing, the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reports.
The listed Indiana projects are$21.5 million for the expansion of an aircraft maintenance hangar and construction of an aerial port facility at Grissom, $16 million for a railcar holding area at Crane and $8 million for a small-arms range at Hulman.
The Pentagon sent on March 18 to members of Congress a list of planned military construction projects across the nation totaling $12.9 billion that have not been awarded and said the money might instead be used to install border barriers under President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration.
Republican federal lawmakers representing northeast Indiana, each of whom has supported beefing up border security, on March 19 played down the release of the list of potentially endangered projects.
“There is a national emergency at our southern border. I am confident that we can secure our borders and continue to support critical projects here in Indiana that keep our nation safe,” Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd, said in a statement. Banks is a member of the House Armed Services Committee.
Sen. Mike Braun called the Pentagon’s announcement “a speculative list.”
“The Senate is working with defense officials to find resources in their $717 billion annual budget that will secure our southern border with minimal effect on military construction projects,” Braun said in a statement.
The office of Indiana’s other senator, Todd Young, said in an email that the Pentagon list “is far from final.” His office said Young “will be working with the White House to ensure securing the border doesn’t come at the expense of other national security priorities.”
A Defense Department fact sheet stated that its “potential pool of sources of military construction funds” for border barriers would exclude military housing and any project with award dates before Oct. 1.