This past October, your San Antonio Chamber of Commerce was honored to pen a strong letter of support and bring together other area Chambers to aid in Port San Antonio’s application for the Defense Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant (DEAAG) funding, administered by the Texas Military Preparedness Commission (TMPC). After reviewing applications from throughout the state, Governor Greg Abbott announced the grant last Thursday for $5 million, the single-largest award this year.
The Chamber is dedicated to ensuring military and business mission success in San Antonio, and part of the letter read, “On behalf of San Antonio’s robust and growing business community, and in recognition of the vital importance of our Military Partners and their missions throughout Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA).” Richard Perez, Chamber President, said, “There is no better application of the state DEAAG investment than in Kelly Field, where it will create jobs, grow missions, sustain our Military City USA title, and directly support our important partners at the Port.”
The funds will be allocated to assist Kelly Field, the runway used by both JBSA-Lackland and employers at Port San Antonio. The area is a hot spot for aerospace, aviation, cybersecurity, and more since the closing of Kelly Air Force Base in 2001. DEAAG funding leverages grant dollars with community matching funds, and in this case, Port San Antonio has committed to matching the $5 million as well as lobbying for an additional $10 million from the Department of Defense in the 2018 budget.
The grant will go toward a $20 million improvement plan that will include a new operations facility and air traffic control tower, as well as renovation of two hangars at the Port to accommodate the growth of military flying missions at JBSA. This project is part of a broader and ongoing comprehensive Public-Public, Public-Private “P4” initiative between Port San Antonio and JBSA to expand Kelly Field, securing its place as a strong military asset for the state of Texas and the Nation. Adding military value to an already booming Port San Antonio site will certainly serve us well in many years to come.