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Defense bill includes nearly $13M for Brunswick reserve center

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Defense bill includes nearly $13M for Brunswick reserve center

BRUNSWICK — Congress this week passed a $447 billion omnibus bill that includes a $12.9 million earmark for a Joint Armed Forces Reserve Center at Brunswick Naval Air Station.

The reserve center funding is within the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill, one of six measures covered by the omnibus bill. President Barack Obama was expected to sign the measure this week. 

The reserve center will be a training facility for about 600 Army and Air National Guard reservists, as well as Marine reservists. The $12.9 million would likely fund the design of the project.

The center was originally conceived in 2005 by state and local officials who hoped it would help their case against including BNAS in the Base Realignment and Closure act. Although that hope wasn't realized, the state's congressional delegation has continued to pursue funding for the reserve center.

The earmark was among nearly $50 million in military construction funding set aside for Maine projects, including $28 million for a new hangar at the Bangor Air National Guard base and close to $10 million for security improvements and design work at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

"This legislation will provide essential funding for our military, our veterans and the Department of Veterans Affairs," U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said in a press release.

Collins added that the bill included "a number of provisions that will help maintain and improve the military infrastructure throughout the state of Maine, boosting our economy by creating jobs and improving our state's defense infrastructure."

Steve Mistler can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 123 or smistler@theforecaster.net