Press Releases

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate approved a legislative package with language authored by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), Ranking Member of the Senate Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (MilCon-VA) Appropriations Subcommittee, that delivers $83 million to the future pilot training center in Fort Smith as well as critical funds for infrastructure projects across Arkansas. The legislation was signed into law Saturday. 

“I’m proud to champion Arkansas priorities and support investment to enhance growth and development in communities across the state. This bill helps ensure Ebbing Air National Guard Base will become the premier pilot training center in the U.S. and reinforces our commitments to allies participating in the future pilot training mission in Fort Smith. Providing the necessary infrastructure and resources now will elevate the installation into a vital national security asset that enhances America’s deterrence posture well into the future. The repeated delays in advancing this critical funding across the finish line were unfortunate, but I appreciate the persistence of my colleagues in the Senate and House of Representatives to find common ground and deliver certainty for several federal agencies in allocating taxpayer dollars more wisely and efficiently,” Boozman said. 

The Boozman-led MilCon-VA bill raises quality of life standards for servicemembers and their families in addition to providing funding for veterans’ health care, benefits and modernization of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) electronic health records system.

Boozman, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, secured inclusion of the following Arkansas priorities: 

Military Infrastructure and Veterans Programs

  • $54 million for the construction of a three-bay hanger supporting F-35 pilot training at Ebbing.
  • $22 million for the construction of a Special Access Program Facility and Aircrew Flight Equipment Facility supporting F-35 pilot training at Ebbing.
  • $7 million for the planning and design of an academic training facility to support future missions at Ebbing.
  • $5 million to complete work on a new Arkansas National Guard Readiness Center at Fort Chaffee.
  • Funding to advance VA Medical Centers and university cancer centers partnerships.
  • Protection of rural veterans’ access to life-saving emergency medical transportation, an issue Arkansas ambulance providers urged action on to maintain viability. 
  • Increased funding for veterans’ health care and benefits including telehealth services, homelessness programs, specialty care for women veterans, and rural health initiatives. 
  • Support for improvements to base housing for servicemembers and their families. 

Transportation Infrastructure  

  • $67 million for the construction of I-49 near Fort Smith.
  • $11.5 million to increase freight rail capacity at the Port of Little Rock.
  • $5 million for improvements to the Highway 82 corridor.
  • $6 million for the construction of a portion of Future I-57.
  • $8 million for improvements on the Highway 412 corridor.
  • $4 million to construct a covered canopy at Clinton National Airport in Little Rock.
  • $2.5 million for upgraded traffic infrastructure to improve security access at Ebbing Air National Guard Base.
  • Delivers funding for research and development of improved transportation methods at U.S. Department of Transportation University Transportation Centers. The Mack-Blackwell Transportation Center at the University of Arkansas earned this designation in 1992. 
  • Funds Department of Transportation discretionary grant programs such as the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program, Airport Improvement Program, Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements program and the Port Infrastructure Development program that has helped support Arkansas infrastructure projects.
  • Maintains existing air service to rural community through the Essential Air Service (EAS) program. Harrison, Hot Springs, El Dorado and Jonesboro participate in EAS.
  • Bolsters the aviation industry and advances research and innovation in air travel, safety and workforce. 

Water Infrastructure, Management and Conservation

  • Funds multiple Arkansas projects including addressing the depletion and resiliency of the Alluvial and Sparta aquifers of the Bayou Meto and Grand Prairie water supply and providing a comprehensive water resource management strategy for the White River Basin.
  • $12 million for Fort Smith water transmission.
  • $11.8 million for water management improvements of water control structures, alternations and repairs of the levee structures at the Shirey Bay Rainey Brake Wildlife Management Area in Lawrence County.
  • $7.7 million for upgrades to the Bono wastewater treatment facility.
  • $5.5 million for improvements to wastewaters systems in Camden.
  • $4.8 million for water and sewer infrastructure improvements to support economic development in a growing area of North Little Rock.
  • $3.5 million for enhancements to Wilson’s wastewater infrastructure. 
  • $1 million for Mountain Home water improvements. 
  • Delivers funds for critical conservation programs such as the North American Wetlands Conservation Act that has resulted in the restoration of thousands of acres of wildlife habitat in Arkansas.
  • Promotes the importance of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS) inland waterway deepening and invests in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-led Arkansas priorities.
  • Strengthens controls to prevent invasive carp in the Mississippi River and its sub-basins including the Arkansas-Red-White River sub-basin. 

Natural State-Based Research 

  • $77.5 million for the Food and Drug Administration’s research promoting and protecting public health conducted at the National Center for Toxicological Research in Jefferson County.
  • Supports agricultural research programs funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including increases for Cooperative Extension and university research. 
  • Secures funding for human nutrition research that will support healthy child development, including the valuable work conducted at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
  • Funds the National Feral Swine Damage Management Program to reduce adverse ecological and economic impacts caused by feral swine across Arkansas and the nation.
  • $10 million to support the Center for Advanced Materials and Steel Manufacturing at Arkansas State University to bolster research in advancing materials and steel manufacturing.
  • $5 million to support the University of Arkansas Center for Design and Materials Innovation to expand the use of Arkansas-sourced timber and wood through cutting-edge research and development.  
  • $5 million for the University of Arkansas Center for Large-Scale Testing of Seismic Systems construction to provide advanced testing capabilities and innovative solutions to infrastructural challenges posed by seismic activity.

Rural Development and Public Safety

  • $1.5 million for a Fire and Public Safety Center in Wilson.
  • $1 million for the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences Arkansas (UAMS) Digital Interventions for Care and Education telemedicine mental health program. 
  • $1 million for UAMS Police Department equipment and technology upgrades.
  • $1 million each to implement a rapid DNA system pilot program for investigations for the Faulkner County Sherriff’s Office and Saline County Sheriff’s Office to reduce violent crime.
  • $500,000 for equipment upgrades for the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training to improve the training of Arkansas police officers.  
  • Invests in rural utilities, electricity and connectivity.
  • Funds the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program to support Arkansas law enforcement agencies and provide tools to keep communities and officers safe.
  • Supports the Regional Information Sharing System which provides valuable criminal and intelligence information to Arkansas law enforcement agencies.

Physician Payment 

  • Increases the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Conversion Factor by 1.68 percent, partially mitigating the 3.37 percent cut included in the Calendar Year 2024 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule. Boozman led a letter to Senate leadership last month requesting an increase of the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Conversion Factor.

Compacts of Free Association (COFA) 

  • Strengthens national security by approving the negotiated COFA agreement with the Republic of Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau to protect U.S. interests in the Pacific and block the People’s Republic of China’s efforts to expand its corrupting influence in the region. 
  • Restores access to federal benefits, championed by Boozman, for COFA citizens legally present in the U.S. The largest population of Marshallese in the continental U.S. resides in Springdale.
  • Expands VA health care to veterans living in the freely associated states.