Tyndall Air Force Base funding falls through
According to the Air Force representatives, Tyndall Air Force Base did not receive money to start new projects on base.
Tuesday, May 1st, was the deadline for more funding.
At this time, contracts already signed using funding already in place will continue, such as clean-up and repair efforts. No new projects, including new rebuilding efforts, will start at Tyndall Air Force Base.
According to the Air Force, the damage from Hurricane Michael on the base will cost $4.7 billion to repair. They say the storm damaged nearly 700 buildings and forced the Air Force to relocate 11,000 personnel and 46 aircraft.
"Homeowners and businesses purchase insurance to protect themselves from these kinds of disasters, but that's not an option for the military," Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson said. "When unavoidable catastrophes strike our facilities, supplemental funding from Congress is our only recourse. If they don't step in, our communities, our readiness and our security all pay the price."
Tyndall isn't the only base facing issues do to a recent disaster. The Air Force says the March 2019 flooding in Nebraska damaged Offutt Air Force Base. They say flood waters submerged dozens of buildings and much of the flightline under eight feet of water.
"The supplemental funding and budget reprogramming requests are about more than just Tyndall and Offutt," Wilson said. "We're robbing other projects to fund minimal recovery efforts because Congress hasn't moved forward yet with recovery funding. The lack of funding now for these projects is impacting all of our bases."
Wilson said there were more impacts rapidly approaching in the absence of a supplemental appropriation to recover Tyndall and Offutt. The Air Force says it expects to stop intensive depot-level aircraft repairs starting mid-May, which would ground five bomber aircraft later this fall and create a long-term backlog for E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft maintenance. It says Offutt Air Force Base recovery efforts and flying operations are also at risk.
"We'll continue to face natural disasters but we can't set the precedent of not rebuilding our bases following a storm like Hurricane Michael," Wilson said. "A natural disaster shouldn't decide whether our communities keep their bases."
WJHG/WECP has done a series of stories about the importance of Tyndall Air Force Base to our community and what exactly this lack of funding means for our community and base. Below are links to previous stories: