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$77M to be diverted from military projects in Hampton Roads for border wall funding

A military vehicle faces east at the border wall in Sasabe, Ariz., Feb. 7, 2019.

TAWANNA STARKS/U.S. ARMY

By HUGH LESSIG | Daily Press (Newport News, Va.) | Published: September 4, 2019

About $77 million will be diverted from four military construction projects in Hampton Roads to help pay for President Donald Trump’s border wall, Virginia’s two senators said Wednesday.

A cyber operations facility at Joint Base Langley-Eustis will lose $10 million. Another $18.5 million will be siphoned away from a project to replace a hazardous materials warehouse in Norfolk.

Two projects in Portsmouth also will see losses: $26 million toward a Navy ship’s maintenance facility, and $22.5 million to replace a hazardous materials warehouse.

In a joint statement, Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine blasted the move.

“Taking money away from our military — including funding to support critical projects here in Virginia — will mean we are less equipped to tackle threats here at home and abroad,” Warner said.

Kaine said Trump is responsible for the well-being of U.S. troops, “yet the commander-in-chief is shirking that duty so he can advance his own political agenda.”

Overall, the Pentagon says it will halt 127 military construction projects across the country to help build 175 miles of wall, The Washington Post reported. Officials spent Wednesday notifying members of Congress about projects that affected their states and districts.

Defense officials have said the projects will be delayed but not canceled.

They have also avoided taking money from military housing projects. Earlier this year, the Pentagon was rocked by reports of deplorable conditions in privately-run housing that included examples in Hampton Roads.

Trump announced a national emergency seven months ago to spend about $8 billion on the border barrier, which he says is needed to curb illegal immigration. Of that, $3.6 billion was supposed to come from the Defense Department’s construction budget.

The funds are being diverted from the 2019 fiscal year budget, passed earlier this year and runs through Sept. 30.

©2019 the Daily Press (Newport News, Va.)
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