Stimulus projects moving forward at Robins

About $33 million in contracts have now been awarded for work at Robins Air Force Base under President Obama’s economic stimulus plan, according to base officials.

For a majority of the proposed projects, “work has begun in some form,” said Terry Landreth, a project manager for the 778th Civil Engineer Squadron. The 778th CES is overseeing the stimulus projects on base.

“All of (the contracts) have been awarded,” he added.

The construction projects are expected to run through mid- to late 2010. “A year, year and a half, surely we should be finished,” said Frank Shedd, chief of project management for the 778th Civil Engineer Squadron.

The Obama administration’s $787 billion economic stimulus plan designates $7.4 billion toward the military, according to the Department of Defense. Of that total, $4.3 billion is to sustain and restore Department of Defense facilities and $2.2 billion is directed toward military construction.

All of the money designated for Robins is directed through the Department of Defense.

Robins was allocated 76 stimulus projects under the plan, Landreth said. They include chores as small as replacing air conditioning units to a massive $3.3 million project to replace concrete on the south end of the base airfield.

On the latter project, the Alabama-based MA-Chis Lower Creek Indian Tribe Enterprises company is nearly complete with its work. “About 95 percent of the work has been done (on the airfield project),” Shedd said.

Other projects funded by the stimulus plan include repairing and replacing windows at a headquarters building, repaving a parking lot and repairing a fence along Ga. 247, which Shedd said is now “in full swing.”

In a speech, in Washington last month marking 200 days since the stimulus was signed into law, Vice President Biden claimed the stimulus bill has saved up to three quarters of a million jobs. The Obama White House also has claimed that many of the contract bids have come in below cost estimates.

A July Associated Press report, however, tallied more than a hundred million dollars in no-bid stimulus contracts awarded through the Department of Defense.

While several of the contracts awarded for Robins were awarded with only one bid, the total costs for the contracts “came in fairly close” to cost estimates made before bidding on the projects began, Landreth said.

To contact writer Thomas L. Day, call 744-4489.