CONGRESSMAN BISHOP SUPPORTS COLUMBUS HOTILIERS, HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02), Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs (VA), and Related Agencies, supported the greater Columbus area hospitality industry with regards to the Army’s process of privatizing base lodging by including specific language in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill admonishing the Army for the administration of their Privatized Lodging Program.
“Many legitimate concerns may arise when a large privately branded hotel is privately given the access to on-base resources and business,” said Congressman Bishop. “The text included within the bill will be of great assistance to us as we work to ensure the viewpoints of Columbus area hotels and motels are represented in future meetings regarding hotel privatization.”
In November, a new 860 room hotel on Fort Benning’s base will be opening, replacing an older facility 255 rooms larger than the new hotel. The Army has stated that the new 450,000 foot facility will house incoming military families and related personnel for the base, but as the hotel will be privatized, its facilities may be available to other visitors than those visiting for official reasons.
The full text of the section regarding privatization can be found below:
Army Privatized Lodging Program – While the Committee has been supportive of the Army’s Privatized Lodging Program (PAL), the Committee is very concerned that the Army has not been as forthcoming when communicating with local communities regarding economic and related impacts of such facilities. There is a concern of local Hoteliers that these facilities will gain an unfair advantage by being able to offer rooms on Army bases to the general public while also benefiting from the Army policy of directing some transient soldiers to stay at on-post facilities when possible. The Committee believes that the Army needs to better address these concerns and therefore redirects the Secretary of the Army to develop a proactive outreach and communication program with local communities with respect to the impact of both new and existing lodging facilities. The Department of the Army is directed to submit an outreach plan for such a program not later than 90 days after enactment of this bill.