On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate passed three of the 12 annual bills that fund the federal government with solid bipartisan support
The Senate passed bills to fund critical national priorities including military construction, veteran services, agriculture programs, food and drug safety, and investments in transportation and housing
Following Senator Reverend Warnock’s advocacy, the Senate’s government funding bills include robust investments for several Georgia priorities
Senator Reverend Warnock has vocally supported efforts to fully fund the government in order to avoid a calamitous shutdown for Georgia workers and families
Senator Reverend Warnock: “When we center the people we have a better chance of getting our federal policy right, and the Senate is demonstrating that it’s possible for Washington lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to break through gridlock, come together and avoid a shutdown by funding our federal government”
Senator Reverend Warnock: “These government funding bills are a testament to the power of our bipartisan work and they reflect my commitment to fighting for all Georgians in every corner of the state. I’m proud to have secured funding for key projects to bolster our military installations, modernize our airports and roads, and strengthen access to affordable housing across Georgia”
Washington, D.C. — Today, Senator Reverend Warnock (D-GA) announced he secured multiple critical federal investments for several Georgia priorities in three FY 2024 government funding bills that passed the Senate earlier today with bipartisan support. The investments secured in the three government funding bills focus on the nation’s agriculture, military, and housing and transportation programs, and reflect Senator Warnock’s commitment to working across the aisle to deliver for Georgians in every corner of the state. This includes championing robust investments to strengthen Georgia’s military communities; enable our farmers to compete and thrive in the 21st century; complete vital projects to improve and modernize the state’s transportation and housing infrastructure, and support and create good-paying jobs in every corner of the state.
“When we center the people we have a better chance of getting our federal policy right, and the Senate is demonstrating that it’s possible for Washington lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to break through gridlock, come together and avoid a shutdown by funding our federal government,” said Senator Reverend Warnock.“These government funding bills are a testament to the power of our bipartisan work and they reflect my commitment to fighting for all Georgians in every corner of the state. I’m proud to have secured funding for key projects to bolster our military installations, modernize our airports and roads, and strengthen access to affordable housing across Georgia. I’m always going to make sure the federal government is doing its part to invest in our state to create jobs, keep our military and servicemembers strong, and move our economy and communities forward.”
In addition to securing programmatic funding for several Georgia priorities in the base text of the legislation, Senator Warnock also successfully secured $33,332,000 in direct federal investments for 20 Georgia projects and initiatives through Congressionally-directed spending requested on behalf of stakeholders across the state, a process previously known as earmarks. The three government funding bills must now be passed by the U.S. House before being signed into law by the President.
See below select highlights of Senator Reverend Warnock’s key wins for Georgia secured in the Senate-passed government funding legislation:
Military Construction and Veteran Affairs Funding Highlights
[Coastal Georgia] $8.6 million for Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield infrastructure planning and construction: These multi-million dollar investments will help fund projects to construct and upgrade maintenance and hangar facilities.
- $6.4 million would fund planning and design for a rotary-wing hangar to support the Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) for the 3 Infantry Division. Currently, aircraft unit maintenance is conducted in a hangar constructed in 1955, lacking proper electrical and mechanical systems that meet current maintenance requirements and negatively affecting unit readiness, morale, and retention.
- $2.2 million would help fund planning and design for new facilities to accommodate personnel, aircraft and equipment of the 224th Military Intelligence Battalion in support of its specialized mission requirements. Constructed in 1958, the current hangar presents several challenges for aircraft maintenance and lacks proper systems and space for our servicemembers to succeed in the 21st century while making their jobs harder.
- These new facilities will ensure our servicemembers have facilities that are safe, comfortable, and fit for function so they can focus on keeping us safe.
[North Georgia] $1.3 million for Camp Merrill barracks: These funds will go towards planning and designing a new student barracks in Dahlonega, Georgia.
- Currently, the existing barracks were constructed at Camp Merrill between 1961 and 1977 and have varying degrees of identifiable deficiencies, including failing fire alarms, electrical systems, and asbestos materials.
- Existing barrack facilities are not sufficient to handle the increased student population: current barracks were built when Ranger class sizes numbered between 70-80 students. Ranger classes today can start with over 400 initially.
- This facility will help ensure Ranger candidates have a safe and large enough space to live while attending training.
[Columbus] $500,000 for a new elementary school at Fort Moore: This investment will help fund a required planning and design phase for the soon-to-be Dexter Elementary School at Fort Moore.
- Providing this school will help increase quality of life for military families at the Army’s premier training installation, keeping our commitment to military families.
Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Funding Highlights
[Metro Atlanta] $5 million for transportation upgrades at the Stitch: This transportation and infrastructure investment will help construct a multi-use 14-acre cap park over Interstates 75 and 85 to reconnect north Downtown Atlanta neighborhoods that were divided by the current highway system.
- Funding will be used to advance preliminary engineering of the Stitch to a shovel-ready project state.
- Funding support for preliminary engineering is crucial for securing project design approvals and raising local and federal funds for construction.
- Supporting this project is key to bringing a 21st century design to Georgia: including reducing traffic congestion, increasing safety, and providing much needed open public space.
- The cap structure will spur the development of a new urban neighborhood with affordable housing, direct access to heavy rail, and a 14-acre park.
- Beyond reconnecting communities divided by the construction of the interstate system, the Stitch will improve the overall transportation network in Downtown by transforming existing car-oriented streets into complete streets, developing an off-street bus facility for local and commuter buses, and renovating an existing rail station.
[Augusta] $2.2 million for Augusta Regional Airport (AGS) infrastructure: Funds will be used to construct a waterline, sanitary sewer, and access road at the Augusta Regional Airport. This will add critical water and sewer infrastructure in a portion of the airport that currently does not have service.
- This project will provide access and infrastructure to the northwest development area of the Augusta Regional Airport as part of an overall continued Hangar and Apron development.
- Development like this helps bolster growth for all residents in the region by opening the door for businesses to invest in the community.
[Metro Atlanta] $1.7 million for public park renovations in Roswell: The Liberty Square Park Transformation Project will create new park amenities, including a playground, shade structure, picnic pavilion, and community gardens for the Liberty Square Neighborhood.
- The city aims to provide access to fresh fruits and vegetables through a community garden, as well as build a trailhead/multimodal path under GA 400, to reconnect residents to job centers in Downtown Roswell and employment opportunities in Atlanta through the regional MARTA transit service.
- The Liberty Square Neighborhood is a relatively young, Hispanic community with limited access to vehicles; residents will have increased recreational opportunities and a community garden once the park project is completed.
[Columbus] $2.5 million for affordable housing in Columbus: This investment will go towards construction of a 130-unit low-income senior rental complex. There is a substantial need and demand for affordable senior housing with over 20% of the population of Columbus being low-income residents 55+.
- Providence Pointe is the low-income senior rental phase of Elliott’s Walk, the first new housing development in South Columbus in over 50 years.
- These funds would provide gap financing to cover the increased interest rates and construction costs since the project budget was initially developed.
[Metro Atlanta] $720,000 for affordable housing for individuals with disabilities: Funds will help design and purchase equipment for accessible, sustainable, and affordable housing options for individuals living with disabilities. Specifically, they will aid the planning and design work associated with sustainability and accessibility elements/features of Bobby Dodd Institute’s (BDI) new support center and 100-unit affordable housing complex.
- The project allows these individuals to fully participate in an inclusive community while living independently.
- For 60+ years, BDI has had a mission of building an inclusive world by embracing people of differing abilities, creating a community where each person’s unique strengths are empowered and employed.
- As one of the largest and longest-serving agencies in Atlanta supporting those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, BDI has become a respected community partner delivering essential services to their clients.
[South Georgia] $488,000 for survivors of abuse: Funds will go towards construction of additional office space for the Southwest Georgia Children’s Alliance, Inc., allowing for services addressing domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, and sexual assault.
- The Southwest Georgia Children’s Alliance is an integral point of contact when there is an allegation of domestic violence, child abuse or neglect, and/or sexual assault.
- The expanded facilities will reduce the number of times victims must tell their story, the number of places victims must go for help, and increase access to services.
- Anticipated outcomes include increased victim safety; increased autonomy and empowerment for victims; reduced fear and anxiety for victims; and dramatically increased community support for services to victims and their children.
[Macon] $311,876 for United Way of Central Georgia – Brookdale Resource Center/Hello House: These funds will go towards the improvement and expansion of services to central Georgia’s chronic homeless who may not yet be ready for a structured environment but want a safe space to stay during extreme heat or cold.
- Brookdale is now able to serve approximately 100 individuals and families in a 90-day program designed to case manage them back to housing security.
- But countless more still need a safe space to get out of the elements on a day-to-day basis. United Way has a gymnasium with 50 beds for those in need, but the gym is not air conditioned and does not have windows, thus making it unusable as a shelter during extreme heat days.
Agriculture and Rural Development Highlights
[South Georgia] $2,000,000 for Second Harvest Food Bank: This investment will enable Second Harvest to construct a new food bank facility with more storage and kitchen capacity to serve rural South Georgia. Second Harvest serves 26 counties in rural South Georgia, but their current building layout and capacity is an obstacle to their efficient operation, and, in turn, limits their ability to help neighbors in need.
- Constructing a new facility will allow Second Harvest to keep up with rising demand by increasing their overall capacity and operational efficiency to serve the region.
- Second Harvest is now being called on to provide disaster relief far more often and is the hub for area relief efforts. The new facility will provide 25 new jobs to the region and increase their ability to utilize locally sourced foods.
[Coastal Georgia] $440,000 for survivors of abuse in rural Georgia: This investment will go towards constructing additional housing for women and children who have escaped domestic violence, sex trafficking, and dependency.
- The Villages is a new, tiny home community project by Shane’s Crib in rural Jesup, Georgia aimed to house women with children who are in recovery, providing them with a place to foster hope and wellness.
- The project is poised to play a major role in a rural area of Georgia that drastically lacks resources for those who face challenges from dependency and abuse.
- The Villages will serve as a steppingstone for women who have escaped abuse and dependency on their way toward bright and successful futures for themselves and their children.
[South Georgia] $100,000 for Dawson Farmers Market and Community Center: These funds will be used to convert a blighted cotton warehouse in Downtown Dawson into a farmer’s market, retail micro-business development and event center.
- Dawson serves as a retail hub for Terrell County and surrounding counties of Webster, Stewart, Dougherty, Calhoun, Sumter and Lee Counties– a combined population of 170,000 and home to over 1,700 commercial produce farms with predominantly low-income minority families in all but one of the counties.
- This not only revitalizes an unused portion of Downtown Dawson but also reduces excess food waste.
- Creating this farmers market and making it EBT/SNAP eligible will benefit all members of the region.
- Having this renovated space also gives the community an event center for meetings, cultural arts, and local talent.