WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senators Joe Biden and Tom Carper announced today that a key Senate Committee approved legislation that includes $8.5 million for the new Air Traffic Control Tower Facility at Dover Air Force Base and $19.601 million for 112 new family housing units. According to Senator Biden, "The need to replace the existing, 1955 vintage Air Traffic Control Facility at Dover Air Force Base has only grown more urgent this year. Dover AFB is critical to the war on terrorism and the need to move forces and supplies in and out of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Europe, keeping Dover at an extremely high operations tempo. The poor location and lack of modern air traffic control equipment impairs the safety of all air operations at the base, and has a negative impact on mission readiness." "The additional family housing units are another investment in Dover's families," Biden also said, "This is the third year in a row we've been able to add new family housing units to address the shortage of adequate housing on base for our military families. The problem is not solved this year, but it's another step in the right direction." The Tower is 1500 square feet smaller than today's Air Force requirements demand. There is not enough space for the crew training, testing, briefings, and administrative work. In addition, the old equipment cannot be upgraded because of the limited space inside the Tower. "The new control tower is desperately needed and should improve the safety of the base and its cargo fleet," said Carper. "The committee's decision to fund the new tower's construction reinforces the Air Force's desire to modernize base technology and prepare Dover for the future." The House of Representatives version of the Fiscal Year 2004 Military Construction bill included the family housing units, but not the funding for the Control Tower. The bill must next be sent to the full Senate for approval and then to Conference with the House.