New London – Congress will vote this week on a massive $1.5 trillion government expense package which includes $50 million for the construction of the National Coast Guard Museum in New London.
Sen. Chris Murphy, who broke the news on Wednesday, said in a statement that the $50 million and the removal of the ban on using federal funds for construction costs was “a breakthrough for the Coast Guard, for New London and southeastern Connecticut. ”
Murphy is the chairman of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security and had pushed for funding with support from Senator Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Representative Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, and U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro , D-3rd district. , chair of the House Appropriations Committee.
“After years of plans and proposals, hopes and expectations, the Coast Guard Museum is about to be built and construction will begin next year,” Murphy said in a statement.
“This project will not only create hundreds of jobs and inject millions into the local economy each year, but will also inspire the next generation to serve. The Coast Guard is the only long-serving branch of the armed forces without a national museum. We owe it to the brave men and women of the Coast Guard – past, present and future – to finally make the museum a reality, and today is a tremendous step towards fulfilling that commitment,” he said.
The news comes just days after retired U.S. Coast Guard Captain Wes Pulver, president of the National Coast Guard Museum Association, gave an update on the museum’s progress to city officials. Preliminary construction work at City Pier Plaza will begin this summer if permits are in place, he said.
“The proposed funding for the National Coast Guard Museum in the 2022 federal budget is a game-changer,” Pulver said in a statement Wednesday. “With this extraordinary support championed by Senator Murphy and the Connecticut delegation, we plan to break new ground this summer. We celebrate all that this means for our nation, the region and for our Coast Guard.
The omnibus spending package to be considered by Congress this week includes 12 appropriation bills for fiscal year 2022 and additional funding to support Ukraine and the management of COVID-19. The bills included in the omnibus provide $730 billion in non-defense funding, an increase of 6.7% from fiscal year 2021. The bills provide $782 billion in funding for defense, an increase of 5.6%.
The $50 million for the Coast Guard museum is included in the fiscal year 2022 homeland security bill.
“This grant will go a long way toward building turbochargers,” Courtney said Wednesday. He said it had been 15 years since Congress made the decision to locate the museum in New London.
“It’s definitely time to move on,” he said.
Courtney, who said he intended to vote in favor of the spending package later on Wednesday, expects the increased funding to spur more attention and potentially more private donations.
Federal funds of $20 million have been appropriated to the museum in previous years for items related to museum exhibits, but not for actual construction costs.
The spending program was due to be considered by the House on Wednesday and the Senate later this week.