Perry Applauds Texas Military Preparedness Commission's Efforts
Focus Is on Enhancing Military Communities’ Value
AUSTIN – Today Gov. Rick Perry applauded the efforts of Texas leaders and the Texas Military Preparedness Commission members to position Texas as the ideal location for future troop expansion.
“With the federal government preparing to begin another round of base closures in 2005, we are aggressively positioning Texas as the ideal location for continued and expanded missions while demonstrating our long term commitment to support America’s new national defense strategies,” Perry said. “The Texas Military Preparedness Commission is playing a key role in our efforts.”
Perry noted that this year, commission representatives have visited every defense community in the state to establish relationships and open lines of communication with community leaders, to listen to their concerns and begin to identify ways the state can help improve their standing in the base realignment and closure process. Department of Defense expenditures in Texas, including those for our 18 military installations, exceed $32.8 billion annually and equate to an economic impact of some $77 billion.
“As someone who has trained on a Texas base as an Air Force pilot and has visited many Texas bases as a public official, I know how important the military and our military installations are to the people of Texas,” Perry said. “As a result of the our efforts and the efforts of the local community leaders Texas has been able to provide funding for infrastructure improvement projects at two bases and help secure and support the relocation of over 8,000 new troops to Texas.”
At Fort Hood, the state committed $20 million to improve transportation if the Department of Defense would send the base 5,000 additional soldiers and civilians, and one week later, Secretary Rumsfeld announced that the troops were on the way. At Fort Bliss, the state will fund $16.2 million in infrastructure improvements to support the 3,800 new troops that will arrive at the base in 2006. Perry noted that similar proposals will be considered for other defense communities that receive additional troops.
“With President Bush’s recent announcement that 70,000 troops stationed overseas will be relocated to the U.S, now is the time for defense communities to take an inventory of infrastructure needs, develop a proposal and be prepared to present a plan to the Military Preparedness Commission,” said Perry. “I want to see thousands of troops deployed abroad call Texas home in the near future.”
In anticipation of the 2005 BRAC, Gov. Perry and state leaders have adopted a proactive policy to promote and enhance Texas military installations, the communities that surround them and the military families who live there. In addition to creating the Texas Military Preparedness Commission (TMPC), other steps the governor and the Texas Legislature have taken are:
- Creation of the Texas Military Value Fund, a $250 million low-interest, revolving loan fund that can be used by military communities for economic development or needed infrastructure improvements that enhance the military value of installations.
- Provision of education benefits that allow military families to enroll in state supported colleges and universities at state resident tuition rates and to retain student status at the same rates, even if the military member is transferred out of state.
- Legislation mandating discounted electrical utility rates for all military installations to lower base operating costs.
- Directives that state agencies give priority to military leaders on issues such as condition of roadway deployment routes, quality of life and environmental compliance issues.
“The majority of our bases are home to multiple branches of the U.S. military, many with excess capacity that can accept new missions as well as reassignment of new military units from overseas or other locations,” Perry said. “Texas has taken good care of its ports, rail and roadway systems, and airports that can accommodate rapid mobilization and deployment requirements. Additionally, Texas’ strategic geographic location is critical to United States homeland security efforts.”
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