KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — Two planned construction projects at Kingsley Field will be among those shelved by the Trump administration's commandeering of roughly $3.6 billion in military funding toward projects along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to documents from the Department of Defense (DoD).
Situated just to the south of Klamath Falls, Kingsley Field houses the 173rd Fighter Wing of the U.S. Air National Guard and serves as the premiere training center for F-15 pilots in the country.
Credit: Kingsley Field Facebook / Senior Master Sgt. Jennifer Shir
Kingsley Field was slated to receive $2.5 million to replace its fuel facilities and $8 million for the construction of an indoor rifle range. Both projects were approved in previous years, and the funds were set to be awarded within the first several months of 2020.
"In identifying military construction projects for deferral, the Department relied on DoD Components to prioritize projects with award dates in fiscal year 2020 or later, the deferral of which would have minimal effects on Component readiness," DoD said in a message to Senator Jeff Merkley's office. "The Department did not consider any family housing, barracks, or dormitory projects for deferral."
The two affected projects at Kingsley Field were the only ones in Oregon deferred by the Trump administration's decision — although dozens of projects at bases across the U.S., in U.S. territories, and at bases abroad will see similar deferrals. Some of those projects individually cost upwards of $80 million.
Deferred projects run the gamut — including the construction of a middle school at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, security improvements at a base in Hawaii, a child development center at Joint Base Andrew in Maryland, and a fire/crash rescue station at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida.
The Pentagon is notifying lawmakers about military construction projects in their districts that will be deferred or delayed in order to divert funding to build the president's wall at the southern border. https://t.co/KWxn7p23DD
— ABC News (@ABC) September 4, 2019
In a joint statement, U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley condemned the Trump administration decision to divert funding approved by Congressional appropriations toward the border wall.
“This decision is both an abuse of presidential authority and a dereliction of duty. Trump’s border wall is a cruel vanity project, and nothing more," the senators said. "Americans should not foot the bill, and especially not at the expense of well-vetted projects across the nation that will actually bolster national security. We will fight to restore this funding to Oregon and to continue opposing Trump’s hateful, ineffective border policies.”
The $3.6 billion in total funding redirected from military construction projects will now go toward 11 border barrier projects and the buying of land along the border, which the DoD called "military construction projects necessary to support use of the armed forces."