The Coast News Group
Marine Corps
The bill also includes amendments to strengthen the Transition Assistance Program for service members returning to civilian life. File photo

House bill would fund $105 million in area military projects

CAMP PENDLETON — The Marine Corps base may receive $105 million for military construction projects and some additional funds for its elementary students if the House and Senate can agree.

The National Defense Authorization Act for the fiscal year 2021 passed in the House of Representatives on July 21. In the bill, $105 million is to be allocated to Camp Pendleton for two major construction projects on base.

Of that $105 million, more than $68 million will be used to construct the 1st MARDIV Operations Complex and the remaining $37 million will be used for the I MEF Consolidated Information Center.

Additionally, the NDAA authorizes $40 million to help local educational agencies with military dependent students who may go to schools on base like Mary Fay or San Onofre Elementary schools.

“One of my top priorities is advocating for the Marines and Sailors at Camp Pendleton, and this funding will help ensure that they have the infrastructure they need to prepare for any mission,” Rep. Mike Levin (D-San Juan Capistrano), a strong proponent of the bill, said in a statement.

According to Levin, the bill also includes his amendments to strengthen the Transition Assistance Program for service members returning to civilian life, expand protection for troops and add $5 million to the Naval University Research Initiative, which works with UC San Diego on defense research.

The bill also includes $1 billion for Pandemic Preparedness and Resilience National Security Fund to direct funding for future pandemic preparation, increases funding for contaminated drinking water cleanup on military bases, improves sexual assault prevention and response programs, expands eligibility for HUD-VA Supportive Housing voucher program for veterans with “other than honorable” discharges to access supportive housing vouchers, and combats the climate crisis by funding research advancing long-range forecasting of weather patterns.

The bill also authorizes $50 million for the Defense Community Infrastructure Program (DCIP), a pilot program that enables the Secretary of Defense to make grants and supplemental funds available under other federal programs to help fix infrastructure issues in communities supportive of military installations.

Oceanside, which borders Camp Pendleton to the south, is one such community. The city submitted a pre-proposal for $5.2 million with a city share of $14.7 million to be used for the construction of Fire Station 1 on Pier View Way.

The current fire station there was constructed in 1929 and is in need of significant change, according to Water Utilities Director Cari Dale, who is in charge of the grant writing process.

“Oceanside has a longstanding relationship with Camp Pendleton,” Dale said.

The city and Camp Pendleton’s fire agencies have a mutual aide boundary drop apparatus that allows the closest emergency units to a situation to be deployed. Dale said there are many instances where the city responds to situations on base and vice versa.

The new station’s design is underway. Funding from the DCIP would allow additional units to be available not only to downtown but also to the front gate for Camp Pendleton in the Harbor area and would also allow for a ladder truck as well.

Dale explained that the city’s pre-proposal will be scored and those with higher scores will be invited to apply for DCIP grants. Oceanside should know its score in early August.

Portions of the Fire Station 1 project will also be paid through Measure X funds, Dale said.

The Senate has also passed its final version of the NDAA, according to Levin spokesman Eric Mee, but the House and Senate still need to negotiate a final version of the bill.