Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today introduced a bill to allow the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to advance critical seismic safety and construction projects at VA facilities in San Francisco, Long Beach, Alameda Point, Fremont, French Camp and Los Angeles.
The omnibus bill passed by the House and Senate includes $563 million for California projects: $161 million for Long Beach, $158 million for Fort Miley in San Francisco, $70 million for Alameda Point; $139 million for Fremont and French Camp, and $35 million for West Los Angeles.
The bill also includes $75 million for Louisville, KY; $11 million for American Lake, WA; $90.1 million for medical facility improvements and expansions in St. Louis, MO; and $83.7 million for new community living center in Perry Point, MD.
However, VA will not be able to spend the money appropriated by Congress due to a technical requirement that the projects also be approved by the Veterans’ Affairs Committees.
The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that California suffers a magnitude 6.7 or greater earthquake every 6.3 years, on average. It also reports that California’s risk of being struck by a magnitude 8.0 or greater earthquake has increased by nearly 50 percent since the agency completed its last estimate in 2008.
"The next California earthquake is a question of when, not if. The seismic safety upgrades planned at some of our largest VA facilities are critical to ensure the safety of veterans, health care providers and staff,” said Senator Feinstein. “These projects are also critical to meeting health care and housing needs for veterans throughout California.”
Feinstein’s bill would provide for the authorization of the seismic upgrades and construction projects, allowing them to quickly move forward.