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PITTSBURGH-The Allegheny County Airport Authority has agreed to lease a 27-acre parcel to the Pennsylvania Department of Veterans and Military Affairs for construction of an Army National Guard vehicle maintenance and storage facility. The land is on Pittsburgh International Airport property adjacent to the 171st Air National Guard Base.

The construction cost of the planned 145,000-sf facility is $32.4 million. The facility will contain 14 general purpose and 11 specialty work bays. A spokeswoman for the airport authority tells GlobeSt.com the ground lease has a 29-year term and the rental rate is about $18,000 a year.

Completion is “approximately two years out,” a spokesman for the Veterans and Military Affairs department tells GlobeSt.com. “It will be entirely federally funded, but the date for ground breaking is not yet set, because funds have not yet been allocated. It is the number-one priority of the Adjutant General of Pennsylvania, the top official with the state National Guard, and we will be asking Congress for the funding in 2008.”

“Today’s lease paves the way for a new state-of-the-art combined surface maintenance shop that will allow our soldiers to properly and safely maintain combat vehicles in top condition,” says Mark Austin, director of the Bureau of Facilities and Engineering for the Veterans and Military Affairs department, in a statement. “By closing four very old, land-locked National Guard facilities in the Pittsburgh area and co-locating at the new facility with the 171st air refueling wing of the airport, we will be able to reduce operating costs, improve vehicle maintenance and enhance training of our soldiers.”

Dan Onorato, Allegheny County chief executive, characterized the plan as part of the county’s “continuing efforts to preserve the military related jobs and local economic revenue that was impacted by the BRAC Commission’s decision to close the 99th RSC and the Kelly Support facility,” referring to Regional Support Command headquarters in Corapolis, PA and the Charles E. Kelly Support operation in Oakdale, PA. Both were on the list of base closures recommended to the Department of Defense by the commission and passed by Congress in August 2005.

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