Committee approves spending projects in Mississippi

Funding to support four defense projects in Mississippi has been approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee as part of the FY2010 Military Construction and Veterans’ Affairs Appropriations Bill, according to Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.).

The Mississippi projects are:

Columbus Air Force Base — $10 million for an aircraft maintenance administration facility to provide adequate workspace for Air Force aircraft maintenance and government quality assurance personnel

Monticello National Guard Readiness Center — $14.3 million to construct a new facility to provide adequate space to support Army National Guard readiness and training

Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center — $16.1 million to support a Combined Arms Collective Training Facility at this Mississippi Army National Guard installation

Keesler Air Force Base — $9.8 million for an Air Force Reserve Aerial Port Squadron facility

In addition to military construction projects, the measure funds Department of Veterans Affairs programs, including medical care, compensation, pension and education benefits.

In a separate item, Cochran announced Senate Appropriations Committee passage of the FY2010 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration Appropriations Bill, a measure that will continue funding for agriculture research and rural development in Mississippi.

The highlights for Mississippi are:

Jamie Whitten Delta States Research Center, Stoneville — $4 million in USDA Agriculture Research Service funds to continue repairs and renovations

National Center for Natural Products Research, University of Mississippi — $3.49 million for phase II construction, and $1.6 million in Food and Drug Administration (FDA) funds to support dietary supplements research

Alcorn State University — $1.5 million in USDA Agriculture Research Service funds for a facility to support research on applying advanced technologies to environmental and agriculture challenges

Mississippi Valley State University — $1 million in USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) funds to support curriculum development, university research, education and outreach programs

University Center for Biomass-Based Energy, Mississippi State University (MSU) — $839,000 in NIFA funding to support development of a plant-based gasification process to produce liquid fuel, a program that also involves Oklahoma State University

Genomics for Southern Crop Stress and Disease, MSU — $797,000 in NIFA funding to continue the study of crop genomics to improve agriculture production

Overall, the legislation includes a $692-million increase for the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program and a $299-million increase to improve FDA food and medical product safety.

The committee-passed measure also provides $67 million in additional funding to modernize the Farm Service Agency’s computer systems nationwide in order to improve the delivery of commodity and disaster payments producers. The legislation also increases agriculture credit loan levels (21 percent), as well as the USDA Rural Development single-family housing loan (80 percent) and rental assistance (8 percent) programs.

The committee has approved the FY2010 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill, which Cochran (R-Miss.) reports will continue important federal investments in Mississippi River management and university-based energy research.

The following are highlights of Mississippi projects funded in the bill:

Mississippi River levee construction and maintenance: $57.1 million for levee construction ($45.4 million) and maintenance ($11.7 million)

Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway: $25 million for operation and maintenance, in addition to $2.5 million for wildlife mitigation activities

Mississippi water and wastewater projects: $10 million for water and wastewater projects authorized under the Water Resources Development Act/Section 592

DeSoto County Regional Utility Authority: $8 million to support the DeSoto County regional wastewater system

Mississippi River flood control: more than $82.7 million directed to harbor and river projects

Sustainable Energy Research Center, Mississippi State University: $10 million to support engineering and scientific research related to creating renewable transportation fuel industries

Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Richton: $30 million for engineering, site characterization

Gulf of Mexico Hydrates Research Consortium, University of Mississippi: $1.2 million to continue development and deployment of an integrated multi-sensor station for continuous monitoring of hydrates and the gas hydrate stability zone in the Gulf of Mexico

Alternative fuel cell membranes for energy independence, University of Southern Mississippi: $1 million to support renewable energy technologies

Nanostructured materials for improved photovoltaics, University of Southern Mississippi: $1 million to develop photovoltaic devices

High-speed wind turbine noise model with suppression, University of Mississippi: $1 million to investigate blade modifications to control wind turbine noise

Appalachian Regional Commission: $76 million

Delta Regional Authority: $13 million

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