Press Releases

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Plans approved to build veterans cemetery

California secures $6.8M federal grant to begin construction at Fort Ord 

 
MARINA, Calif. – U.S. Representative Sam Farr, D-Carmel, and California State Senator Bill Monning, held a press conference today to announce that the U.S Department of Veteran Affairs approved the state’s design to build the California Central Coast Veterans Cemetery at the former Fort Ord and has awarded $6.8 million in federal funds to build the cemetery. With today’s announcement, the state can now begin construction of the first phase of the cemetery, a 17 acre columbaria that will include 5,000 niches. 
 
“For two decades, we have worked with the veterans’ community to build a cemetery that honors not just their service but also honors the legacy of Fort Ord,” said Farr. “Today, we can finally say we are ready to begin construction of the Central Coast Veterans Cemetery.  This final resting place will be a fitting tribute to those who bravely wore our nation’s uniform.” 
 
The California Department of Veterans Affairs submitted the initial application last year to participate in the federal Veterans Cemetery Grants Service Program for FY 2014. The state then had to meet several design deadlines before the September 30th deadline to be eligible for the funds this fiscal year. Any delay would have prevented the federal government from awarding the $6.8 million grant which could have put the entire project in jeopardy.  
 
“The award of a grant from the USDVA to finally begin building a veterans cemetery at the former Fort Ord is a tremendous accomplishment for our veterans, local community, and state and federal partners,” said Monning. “I am very grateful and overwhelmed that we are on the threshold of realizing a dream that many worked for so long to make happen.”
 
The $6.8 million will be used is to reimburse all constructions costs associated with building the first phase of the cemetery. An additional $2.6 million was necessary to cover any additional costs such as state salaries and land transfer fees.  The local veterans raised nearly $600,000 of the necessary funds. When combined with $1 million in state funds secured by Monning and an additional $1 million provided by California Speaker of the Assembly John Pérez , the first phase of the project is completely funded. The state is eligible for additional grants to pay for the other phases of the project.
 
Fort Ord was the largest training base in the western United States and was the major staging ground for operations in the Pacific. Many World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans trained at the former Army base.  
 
When the base was closed in 1994, to honor that connection to many of today’s veterans, land was set aside by for the construction of the cemetery.
 
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Farr celebrates expansion of world’s largest marine reserve

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel, co-chair of the House Oceans Caucus, released the following statement after President Obama announced the expansion of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument to nearly 490,000 square miles, roughly three times the size of California, making it the world’s largest marine reserve:
 
“Today is a great day for marine conservation. Two-thirds of the planet is covered by water yet we have protected more land than ocean. The President’s announcement is a gigantic step in the right direction by almost doubling the amount of the ocean that is now protected around the globe. 
 
“When President Teddy Roosevelt established the first national park, it changed our country’s mindset towards the world around us. These special places did more than just preserve wilderness for future generations to enjoy. They educated us about our connection to the environment and fostered a greater understanding about our stewardship of the planet. 
 
“Designating these marine specials places will have that same effect. Our future is going to be determined by how we manage the health of our oceans. This announcement is about much more than just protecting pristine sections of the ocean. It is about raising awareness of our link to the oceans and educating more people about the role well all play in preserving it.”
 
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Farr secures over $40 million for Camp Roberts improvements

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel, announced today that he secured $39 million for the California Army National Guard to construct a new 43,000-square-foot Satellite Communications (SATCOM) operations facility at Camp Roberts. The new funds are in addition to the $2.9 million he announced earlier this week to repair the High Water Bridge at the military installation.
 
Camp Roberts SATCOM facilities provide communications capabilities for strategic and tactical U.S. and Allied forces around the globe, particularly for operations in the Pacific theater. Camp Roberts needs to expand and modernize the current facility to meet increased demands created by the President’s strategic rebalance of Department of Defense assets for the Asia-Pacific region. 
 
“A new SATCOM facility is needed to meet the changing mission of our modern military,” said Farr. “Investments like this in Camp Roberts’ infrastructure hopefully shows the Pentagon recognizes the unique strategic value created by the Central Coast’s military installations.”
 
This $39 million is in addition to the $2.9 million received earlier this week to repair the High Water Bridge at Camp Roberts. Repairs to the bridge, which is currently inoperable due to severe structural damage, are necessary to improve personnel safety during training. The bridge provides the most direct link to Camp Roberts’ medical facility from the firing range. Repairs to the bridge will cut travel time between the two locations by almost 40 minutes. 
 
“The safety of our National Guard members during training is the top priority for the leadership at Camp Roberts,” said Farr. “The High Water Bridge provides the fastest route between the firing ranges and the medical facility. In the event of an emergency, every second is critical to get medical help so I am glad we are able to restore this vital link between the two locations.” 
 
The new SATCOM facility has an estimated completion date of June 2016. The repairs to the High Water Bridge are expected to be completed before next summer.
 
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Statement on the ISIS vote

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel, released the following statement after the House of Representatives voted to approve President Obama’s plan to counter the growing threat of the Islamic State terrorist organization:  
 
“I agree with the President’s decision to remove the threat created by ISIS but the plan laid out by the White House is still too vague. I could not support the amendment without clear answers to how that threat will be removed and exactly what the United States role will be. ISIS remains a roadblock in creating stability in the region and they must be stopped. However, I am fearful today’s vote does not bring us closer to our ultimate goal of peace.”
 
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Farr secures $2.9 million for Camp Roberts High Water Bridge

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel, announced today that the California Army National Guard received $2.9 million to repair the High Water Bridge at Camp Roberts. Repairs to the bridge, which is currently inoperable due to severe structural damage, are necessary to improve safety during training. The bridge provides the most direct link to Camp Roberts’ medical facility from the firing range. 
 
“Ensuring the safety of our National Guard members during training is critical for Camp Roberts to fulfill its mission,” said Farr. “The High Water Bridge provides the fastest route between the firing ranges and the medical facility. In the event of an emergency, every second is critical to get medical help so I am glad we are able to restore this vital link between the two locations.” 
 
Camp Roberts is divided by the Nacimiento River, with the operations facilities and housing located to the south, and the training ranges on the north. The primary bridge to cross the river is the High Water Bridge which provides the shortest path between the training ranges and the facilities. Since 2009, the bridge has been unsafe to use creating an additional 40 minutes of travel time between the two areas.
 
The project was originally identified by the California Army National Guard as the state’s top unfunded military construction project but did not originally receive funding in this year’s budget. Farr worked with the National Guard Bureau and Camp Roberts leadership to secure the $2.9 million necessary to repair the damaged bridge from unspent funds leftover at the end of the FY 2014 budget.  
 
"The repair of the High-Water Bridge at Camp Roberts has been among our top construction priorities for years. Thanks in large part to Representative Sam Farr's efforts, we'll finally be able to repair this critical infrastructure to dramatically improve the safety of our service members and make our training much more efficient," said Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin, Adjutant General for the California National Guard. "Representative Farr continues to be a stalwart supporter of our soldiers and airmen, especially those at Camp Roberts, our most important training installation."
 
Camp Roberts has begun soliciting bids to complete the repairs.  Construction is expected to begin by mid-November and should be completed before summer training begins next year.
 
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