Congressman Heck Applauds Funding & Authorization of Defense Communities Infrastructure Program
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congress took the final steps to create the Defense Community Infrastructure Program (DCIP), an effort begun by Congressman Denny Heck (WA-10) in 2014. The program will provide grants to state and local governments to improve and expand infrastructure in communities to accommodate growing defense installations.
“Those of us who have the great honor to represent major defense installations know that the base is only as strong as the communities that surround it,” said Heck. “The communities are home to most uniformed personnel and all of the civilian workforce. The communities pay for the roads that lead up to the gates and the levees that protect the installation from floods. We have fought hard in Congress to ensure that our defense communities receive the funding they deserve. In my nearly six years of work on this issue, I am proud to have been joined in this fight by not only dozens of my Congressional colleagues but also local elected officials representing over 120 communities in 30 different states, including Washington.
“The South Sound has long been an excellent home to the armed forces, and the Pentagon has recognized that fact by steadily transferring commands to Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Adding those units enhances our communities, but the growth comes at a cost to local governments in Pierce County that must rapidly expand roads, wastewater and other infrastructure to accommodate new families. The federal government should be a better partner in sharing those costs, which is why I introduced the COMMUTE Act in 2014. Since then, I’ve never stopped working to bring this idea to reality, and today feels like a significant win for the South Sound and military communities across the country.”
DCIP was first included in the final defense authorization bill for 2019. However, without dedicated funding, the Pentagon has not yet implemented the grant program. This year, advocates of DCIP secured an authorization for $75 million in the 2020 defense authorization bill. On December 5, Congressman Heck sent a letter, signed by 18 of his colleagues, to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, calling for $75 million in DCIP funding. The dedicated $50 million appropriation approved today will ensure the program will have at least that much in 2020.
Administered by the Office of Economic Adjustment, DCIP provides federal grants to help state and local governments address infrastructure deficiencies that directly impact mission readiness and resilience in communities near military installations. These grants are awarded under the guidance of the Secretary of Defense and require at least a 20% match from a state or local government.
Congressman Heck represents Joint Base Lewis-McChord and is a member of the House Intelligence Committee.