El Paso moves closer to bigger health center for veterans
Gonzales, VA Secretary outlines progress in securing funding for $700 million project
EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — With $150 million in the bank, El Paso has a good chance of having an expanded Veterans Health Care Center by 2026, a senior administration official said. .
The goal of the expansion is to serve a growing veteran population in El Paso and increase mental health services, said Dennis McDonough, Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
“We think El Paso is a revolutionary new way for us to move construction forward faster (and) we want to stick to those timelines,” McDonough said. “We plan to start in April 2023, then we plan to finish in 2026 with the new installation. It’s 51 months of nut soup.
Speaking at a House Appropriations subcommittee meeting this week, McDonough said site preparation was underway thanks to the initial appropriation. But full-fledged construction is pending approval of a $550 million budget request for fiscal year 2023.
“We think this is kind of a pilot to allow us to accelerate commercialization of the kind of care we need in a growing community like El Paso, where we see a significant demand for new veterans,” said said the secretary.
U.S. Representative Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, who represents parts of the northeast and far east of El Paso, pushed for expanded VA health care funding.
“Last year I secured seed funding for an updated VA health care center in El Paso, but the work doesn’t stop there. While the first phase of funding is underway, I will push for full funding for this project in next year’s budget. As a veteran myself, supporting our service members – both active duty and retired – is a top priority,” he said.
Some 46,000 veterans live in El Paso County, according to the Census Bureau.
- In fiscal year 2022, $150 million for the project was allocated to build on the existing VA healthcare center, expanding into additional care like mental health services.
- The AV will request an additional $550 million in fiscal year 2023 to complete construction and expects the project to take 51 months.
- Updates to the current facility will be completed in April 2023, with the full project and new facility completed in 2026.
Source: Veterans Administration