A package of appropriations bills that is headed to the president after passing the Senate on Wednesday includes $15 million for a National Guard building in Rapid City and $130 million to support research at an underground lab in Lead, according to the office of Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D.
The $15 million appropriation for the National Guard will help fund construction of a $20 million building next to the Guard’s existing Army Aviation Support Facility at Rapid City Regional Airport. State government is expected to cover the remaining $5 million.
The facility will be called a National Guard Readiness Center and will provide additional space for the Guard’s aviation activities at the airport.
Meanwhile, the $130 million appropriation will support construction of the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility that will eventually house the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (LBNF/DUNE), a partnership between Fermilab in Illinois and the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead.
The South Dakota portion of the project uses parts of the former Homestake Gold Mine, where a refurbishing of the Ross Shaft down to 5,000 feet has been underway since 2012. Construction activities related to the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility could start this fall.
When the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment is eventually installed in the facility, Fermilab will shoot a beam of neutrinos 800 miles through the earth from Illinois to massive particle detectors deep underground at Lead. The experiment aims to study the properties of neutrinos, to help explain more about how the universe works and why matter exists.
The new funding for LBNF/DUNE follows $95 million of funding this year and $55 million in 2017.
In additional funding for South Dakota, the newly passed legislation also includes $2.5 million for the Tribal Partnership Program, which could be used to help with the Lower Brule Shoreline Erosion project. Another $36.87 million was included for Army Corps operation and maintenance in South Dakota, which could fund the implementation of a snowpack and soil moisture monitoring program requested by Rounds to mitigate major flooding along the Missouri River.
Rounds praised the passage of the legislation, which includes a total of $147 billion in appropriations.
“Today’s vote is a step in the right direction toward getting back to ‘regular order,’ where we debate and vote on individual appropriation bills in a timely manner,” Rounds said in a news release.
Rounds noted that the Senate Appropriations Committee passed all 12 of its appropriation bills this year with bipartisan support, and the full Senate has passed nine of those 12 bills so far.
“While not perfect, this is the fastest pace we’ve passed funding bills since 1999,” Rounds said. “We’re making a real effort to return to regular order, which is a good way for Congress to keep its spending in check and be transparent and accountable to the American taxpayers.”