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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 21, 1999


April 21, 1999

Despite significant improvements since 1993, the federal process for making closing military bases available for community reuse is still too cumbersome and slow. To promote more rapid reuse, President Clinton today announced:

Between 1988 and 1995, the federal government selected 97 military bases for closure, and 62 of the 74 closures that involve a significant community impact have already occurred, most since 1993. In July 1993, President Clinton announced a five-part program to give priority to rapid redevelopment of closing bases and job creation by host communities. This program, which represented a sharp departure from past federal policy, has produced significant achievements:

Because of extraordinary community leadership, combined with a strong economy and President Clinton's commitment to help affected communities, closing military bases are becoming engines of local economic renewal all across the country:

Bergstrom Air Force Base, Austin, TX (BRAC 91; closed Sep 93) "Fly Austin -- The Sky's the Limit" is the theme for this month's grand opening of the new Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, located at the former Bergstrom Air Force Base. In 1993, when Bergstrom closed, the economic loss to Austin from the closure was estimated to be more than $400 million a year. Today, Austin expects to have 16,000 new jobs associated with the airport by 2012 and more than 725,000 square feet of new development drawn to the surrounding area. In fact, two office buildings have already gone up near the base in anticipation of the airport. In the coming weeks, a series of celebrations will kick off the opening of the last major U.S. airport likely to be built this century and the first former military base to become a major commercial airport. Cargo operations actually began in mid-1997. On May 2, the first scheduled passenger flight will land at the new airport, ushering in a new era of air service for Austin and central Texas. With 25 gates and 260 flights a day, the airport will accommodate six million passengers in its first year alone. By transforming Bergstrom into a $690 million international airport, the City of Austin estimates it saved $200 million in land acquisition and runway construction costs. The Federal Aviation Administration contributed more than $65 million for airport redevelopment and construction. One of the most distinguishable of Bergstrom's old buildings, the 12th Air Force Division headquarters, called "The Donut" due to its unique design, will reopen as a Hilton Hotel in Spring 2000.