|P-51 Mustang in flight during an air show at Langley Air Force Base, in Virginia (USA). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Governor Terry McAuliffe announced the recipients of the second round of Federal Action Contingency Trust (FACT) Fund grants.
The FACT fund was officially established in the 2012 General Assembly Session, to help Virginia counter actions taken by the federal government that may adversely impact the citizens and economy of Virginia. A first round of FACT Fund grants were announced on December 2, 2013.
On July 21, 2014, Governor McAuliffe refined the application criteria by announcing that Virginia localities that have had or have pending identifiable or measurable negative impacts caused by encroachment upon military or security installations were eligible to apply for these grant funds. The amount available for this second round of grants from the FACT Fund totaled $4,361,600.
“Virginia’s military bases and installations are a key asset to our economy, and we have a responsibility to protect them,” said Governor McAuliffe. “I am pleased that we were able to keep this FACT Fund money in the budget, and award it to communities so that they can guard against encroachment and preserve our Commonwealth’s strong relationship with the Department of Defense. As we work to build a new Virginia economy, we must continue to be the most military-friendly state in the nation. These grants will help us achieve that goal.”
In 2012, the General Assembly created the FACT Fund Advisory Commission (the “Commission”), composed of General Assembly members, to assist in the review of the FACT Fund requests.
The current Advisory Commission is composed of five members from the Senate Finance Committee: Chairman Walter A. Stosch, Senators Janet D. Howell, L. Louise Lucas, Frank W. Wagner, and John C. Watkins. The Advisory Commission is also composed of five members of the House Appropriations Committee: Chairman S. Chris Jones, Delegates L. Scott Lingamfelter, Rosalyn R. Dance, Edward T. Scott and Barry D. Knight.
Secretary of Finance Ric Brown, Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs John Harvey, Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones, and Secretary of Health and Human Resources Dr. Bill Hazel serve as FACT Fund advisors to the Governor. On August 15, 2014, FACT Fund applicants presented to the FACT Fund Commission in Richmond.
Funding for the FACT Fund was made possible by Governor McAuliffe’s veto of language in the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget, which had the effect of restoring the General Assembly’s elimination of the existing balance to the FACT Fund and making it available for this round of grants.
FACT Fund Grant Recipients (Related Military Installation)
Recipient: City of Hampton (Langley AFB)
Summary: Langley Air Force Base (LAFB) is the only Air Force Base in the Commonwealth of Virginia and serves as a joint base. The City of Hampton submitted an appropriate application for funds to battle the threat of development encroachment and was recommended for approval by the Commission. The City will use the funds from this grant to purchase both developed and undeveloped properties in designated clear zones. The purchase of these properties prevents the loss of life and property in the event of aborted takeoffs or landings. The City of Hampton will match the FACT Fund grant 1:1.
"I want to thank Governor McAuliffe for this grant, which will help Hampton protect the enormous value that Langley Air Force Base," said Hampton Mayor George Wallace. "The Governor fought to keep this FACT Funding in the state budget, and we are grateful that he used some of it to help us make Hampton the best home in the world for Langley and the men and women who serve there."
Recipient: City of Virginia Beach (NAS Oceana)
Summary: Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana is a master jet base for the U.S. Atlantic Naval Fleet and following a BRAC Order from 2005 has had a long-standing program to combat high density encroachment. Since inception nine years ago, the City indicates the program has invested over $122 million to buy properties or buy down density to assist with the encroachment issues surrounding the two runways. The City of Virginia Beach submitted an appropriate application for funds to battle the threat of development encroachment and was recommended for approval by the Commission. Funding from this grant will continue to address priority purchases such as vacant land in accident potential zones with residential zoning and any property in clear zones. The City of Virginia Beach will match the FACT Fund grant 1:1.
Will Sessoms, Mayor of Virginia Beach, said, "On behalf of the people of Virginia Beach, I want to thank Governor McAuliffe for investing in our ongoing effort to keep NAS Oceana here in Hampton Roads, and for restoring this critical funding. Virginia Beach’s partnership with the Navy is a national model, and the FACT Fund is a valuable weapon as we continue to fight encroachment and work to create the best possible environment for the bases and installations that are essential to our Commonwealth’s economy.”
Recipient: City of Chesapeake (NALF Fentress)
Summary: The Navy Auxiliary Landing Field (NALF) Fentress serves as the outlying training facility to (NAS) Oceana. The City of Chesapeake submitted an appropriate application for funds to battle the threat of development encroachment and was recommended for by approval by the Commission. Funds from this grant will be used by the City to begin purchasing properties under the recently established Fentress Encroachment Protection Acquisition Program. Acquisitions are targeted in the highest priority areas of properties in the Fentress Overlay District. The City of Chesapeake will match the FACT Fund grant 1:1.
Speaking about the award, Chesapeake Mayor Alan Krasnoff said, “This grant will help the City of Chesapeake continue to battle encroachment so that the Navy can operate effectively in our city, and our residents can continue to enjoy the high quality of life we offer. I want to thank Governor McAuliffe for acting to restore this funding in the state budget, and for helping to fund this important work here in Chesapeake.”