Fort Carson expansion would cost more than $2 billion |

Fort Carson expansion would cost more than $2 billion

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. ” The Pentagon’s base closings plan may include growth at Fort Carson that would require up to $2.3 billion in military spending on construction, equipment and civilian workers, The Gazette reported Friday.

The newspaper said the figure was in a document it did not describe. It also predicts that up to 2,000 more troops could join an 8,000-soldier expansion already expected at the Army post ” a move that would raise the population to more than 25,000 soldiers.

“What the document provides is a very rough estimate,” said Lt. Col. Barrett Larwin, the post’s public works director. “None of those assumptions have really been validated.”

The plan assumes a citizen commission and Congress will approve a Pentagon plan that would give Fort Carson two combat brigades and more than 1,000 troops for a division headquarters. One of the units, the 3,700-soldier 2nd Brigade Combat Team, is coming to Fort Carson this summer after a year of duty in Iraq.

The other unit is expected to be the 4th Brigade Combat Team now stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. The report also suggests Fort Carson could get nearly 1,000 soldiers in an aviation brigade and a battalion of Green Berets now stationed in Germany.

If that all happens, Larwin said, it would require adding barracks, hangars, warehouses and office space. Along with improving roads and utilities, that could cost up to $2 billion; improving the airfield alone would cost an estimated $534 million.

Additional soldiers could drive a boom in the Colorado Springs rental housing market, said Mike Kazmierski of the El Paso County Economic Development Corp. The report anticipates that most soldiers and their families would live outside the post.

Still, area roads need major work.

“It will be a challenge for the city and the county because there’s no funding to support (the improvements),” said Jeff Markovich, vice president for military affairs with the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce.

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