LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Funding for Louisville's new VA medical center will get a big boost, courtesy of President Trump's proposed budget, according to U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell.
The Senator said the President will apportion $400 million for the new Robley Rex VA Medical Center in his 2020 budget request to Congress -- a move that would fully fund the project.
McConnell said it's the first time full funding for a VA center has been included in the budget.
The Senator's comments came during a Monday morning news conference.
McConnell said the President "personally assured" him that the funding would be in the budget request at the senator's request.
.@senatemajldr says @realDonaldTrump is including $400 million for VA Medical Center In Louisville in budget. McConnell says first time full funding for a VA medical center has been included in budget.— Travis Ragsdale (@TravisRagsdale) March 4, 2019
"I want to thank President Trump for his assurance that my request to fully fund the Robley Rex VA Medical Center will be included in his budget, and I am proud to work with him to support Kentucky’s veterans,” said Senator McConnell, in a statement. "This has been a long time coming, but this is a huge step forward for this important project. Kentucky veterans, who have served our country so bravely, deserve to receive quality health care in a new, modern facility. As Senate Majority Leader, one of my top priorities is to support our nation’s heroes, especially the more than 300,000 veterans who call Kentucky home. They have been waiting far too long for this medical center, and I am pleased we are now one step closer."
The plan for a new VA hospital in Louisville has been on the books since 2006, but there's been very little movement since then.
It was just a year-and-a-half ago that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs decided for certain that the site of the new hospital would be 35 acres of farmland off Brownsboro Road near the interchange between I-71 and I-264.
The project costs about $1 billion in total. So far, just a little over a half of the money has been allocated for the project.
"This particular type of funding is often competing against other locations," McConnell said. "So if the president puts that money aside for Kentucky, it makes it easier for those of us making the final decisions to keep it in (the budget)."
McConnell said President Trump called him last week to say that he would be including the rest of the funding for the project in the upcoming budget.
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