Iraq Supplemental Bill Sent to the President with $57 Million for Dover Air Force Base Cargo Port

Washington — U.S. Senators Joe Biden and Tom Carper and Congressman Mike Castle announced today that Dover Air Force Base will receive $57.5 million in federal funds to design and construct a new, 350,000 sq ft. state-of-the-art aerial cargo port. The funds are part of the $87 billion Emergency Supplemental negotiated and passed by both Houses of Congress last night. The bill now goes to the President for his signature into law.

The new facility will replace the existing 50-year-old structure that suffered serious damage when two cargo bay roofs collapsed during the blizzard of February 2003. Even with the damage, Dover was still able to move over 30% of the cargo airlifted into theater for Operation Iraqi Freedom, but five of Dover’s regular supply missions, called “channel missions,” had to be shifted to other bases.

Earlier this year, Delaware’s Congressional delegation met with Air Force leaders to make sure that all options were being evaluated and aggressively pursued. When the decision was made to replace the entire aging structure with a new, state-of-the-art terminal, the delegation worked with the Office of Management and Budget and the Secretary of Defense’s office to make sure they were aware of the critical situation and its impact on war operations.
Recognizing the vital role Dover played in both Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, the Air Force requested the funding in the Supplemental because the damage was caused by an act of nature and directly impacts the nation’s ability to fight and win major combat operations. Dover is also critical in our efforts to sustain troops currently stationed overseas.
“Replacing this port is part of our commitment to making sure the men and women in the field have everything they need to get the job done,” said Senator Biden. “The new port will allow the Base to continue to maintain their high operations tempo, moving massive amounts of cargo and equipment around the globe, quickly and efficiently.”

“The delegation has worked hard over the past few months with the administration and members of Congress to ensure the funding for the new cargo facility, which will help Dover to run its missions overseas,” said Senator Carper. “The decision to include the money in the Iraq bill and to construct an all-new cargo port is proof of the importance the military places on Dover Air Force Base, one of the military’s leading strategic airlift command stations, and is another vote of confidence in the base’s future.”

“I am extremely pleased we were able to secure this funding for the aerial port, which is truly a testament to the role the Dover Air Force Base plays now in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, this is also an investment in the future of the Dover Air Force Base and the future of our nation’s military.” Construction of the new facility is scheduled to begin in the Summer of 2004 and fully completed by February 2007.