Bush's budget includes more than $670 million for military construction in NC

President's budget includes $10.64 million for federal courthouse, post office in New Bern
Sue Book, Sun Journal, Feb. 5, 2008

President Bush’s 2009 budget includes more than $670 million for military construction in North Carolina and $10.64 million for the U.S. post office and courthouse in New Bern.

Including the additional money for the courthouse renovation, which is in progress, was encouraged by Sen. Elizabeth Dole in a letter to the Office of Management and Budget.

“The courthouse is a historic building in North Carolina and an important landmark in the town of New Bern,” she said. “The goal is to have the construction phase completed in time for the town of New Bern’s 300th Anniversary in 2010 and funding in fiscal year 2009 is critical to that goal.”

She said the courthouse received funding in a continuing resolution for fiscal year 2007 but the additional money is needed to complete the renovation and improve operating capacity.

Dole said, “There are many dangerous security issues in the courthouse, including the need for a separate prisoner elevator, as well as a secure sally port and cell block to unload and hold prisoners. The bankruptcy court is also currently without a courtroom, which would be provided by the renovation project.”

Dole endorsed the president’s budget items for dealing with immigration and national parks as a good starting place for Congress but called for increased funding for the National Institutes of Health.

“While I am pleased to see the president request the single largest annual defense budget in history, I think this still represents a modest down payment on the amount needed to modernize our forces, fully fund military construction, properly fund service members’ pay and benefits, and grow the Army and Marine Corps over the next several years,” she said.

“That is why I am calling for funding annual defense budgets at no less than four percent of gross domestic product — a plan supported by both Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” said Dole.

“As we work through the congressional budget process, addressing North Carolina’s priorities is my top priority,” she said.

A $1.96 million appropriation for Charlotte Rapid Transit is also in the budget submitted to Congress.

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