Combest Helps Secure $14.3 Million For Local Projects - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock


Combest Helps Secure $14.3 Million For Local Projects

U.S. Rep. Larry Combest is very pleased to announce that the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved the FY 2003 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which includes $8.9 million for Texas Tech University projects and $4.5 million for Lubbock projects. Both for which Combest fought to secure funding.

"I am very glad my requests for funding were approved by my colleagues in Congress who have seen the importance of these projects to our area and our country," Combest said. "For this fiscal year in particular, there were very difficult spending decisions that had to be made, which clearly demonstrate the value of these programs. As our nation continues to fight the war on terrorism and get our economy back on solid ground, funding these projects will help us reach our goals."

Combest Helps Secure $8.9 Million for Texas Tech Projects

Dr. David R. Smith, chancellor of the Texas Tech University System, applauded Combest's hard work in acquiring funding for these important projects. "Congressman Combest, his colleagues and his staff have continuously provided Texas Tech with generous resources for our federal research initiatives," Dr. Smith said. "Congressman Combest has been a constant champion in the House of Representatives for Texas Tech. It is unquestionable that his leadership and that of his colleagues have helped Texas Tech gain recognition as an international and national center for research."

The projects for which Combest helped secure funding, and the funding amounts for FY 2003 are:

Wind Disaster Mitigation Research Program: $2.5 million

This program has received funding for the past four years under a cooperative agreement with the National Institute for Standards and Technology to research the detrimental effects of windstorms on building and to reduce losses from windstorm events. The work has led to many accomplishments of national scope, such as the creation of two Federal Emergency Management Agency publications on how to construct safe rooms for residential homes and community shelters. Tech intends to carry on its research to improve the economy of shelters and wind-resistant construction.

Center for Space Sciences $2.25 million

The Center for Space Sciences, which is a cooperative effort between NASA's Johnson Space Center and Texas Tech is dedicated to improving crop growth efficiency, developing water recycling programs, advancing plant biochemistry, and increasing NASA's ability to conduct long-term manned space flights. By combining the expertise and strengths of both Texas Tech and NASA, the Center for Space Sciences conducts unique, world-class research projects which are beneficial for West Texas, the entire agricultural industry, and support NASA's mission and advance other space related industries.

International Cotton Research Center $1.19 million

The center is a collaborative research effort between Tech and Texas A&M University system and USDA. The multidisciplinary research conducted at the center covers a wide range of issues including the genetic improvement of cotton varieties, increased production and yield capacities, and improved market and policy analysis for cotton and other natural fibers. The increased funding will help the center expand research on genetic enhancement and improving cotton's marketability, as well as expand their efforts to improve cotton fiber testing and textile processing.

Nursing Wellness Center $900,000

This funding will help construct and expand the Nursing Wellness Center in Lubbock. Combest secured the entire amount that the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center sought. The Nursing Wellness Center has utilized its teaching to serve the underserved area of East Lubbock County.

Institute for Diabetes Prevention and Control $500,000

This funding is for the final year of the three-year project by the Texas Tech Institute for Diabetes Prevention and Control to provide a national model for diabetes outreach, education, prevention, and care. Diabetes is one of the nation's fastest growing health problems. It is the leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, and amputations, and one of the leading cases of heart disease, nervous system disease, stroke, birth defects, premature death, and disability. About 7 percent of Texans have been diagnosed with diabetes.

Virtual Vietnam Project $400,000

The primary mission of the Virtual Vietnam Project, an initiative of the Vietnam Archive Center at Texas Tech, is to digitize the Vietnam Archives and publish the records on-line, making the Vietnam experience more accessible to the American public, academic researchers, and veterans of the war. The archive houses 4 million pages of material on the Vietnam War and Southeast Asia, which is the most extensive collection of Vietnam-related documents outside the federal government.

The Plant Stress and Water Conservation Laboratory $250,000

The funding will be used to address staffing needs. Research conducted at the facility aims to help producers improve their farming practices to create a more suitable growing environment for their crops while conserving natural resources.

Forensic Sciences Institute: $250,000

This project by the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and Texas Tech University will enhance the investigation, analysis, and management of criminal issues. The institute also will rural areas of West Texas easy access to the latest crime solving technology, research, education or expert consultation. Texas Tech will rely on multi-disciplinary partnerships for a more comprehensive formula of education, research and community service.

The Center for Food Industry Excellence $250,000

This fiscal year is the first time that this Texas Tech program has received federal funding. The center is a key component in facilitating a food security research initiative in which Tech has partnered with industry and top research experts at several universities to identify food security threats in the production, processing, and distribution system, test solutions in model plants and train the food industry on how to implement a food security plan.

Institute for Healthy Aging $250,000

The critical mission of this unique institute is to address the numerous challenges and opportunities presented by the aging population, especially those in rural areas. The Training Academy's primary purpose will be to address the continuing shortage of trained health professionals. The continued funding will support the education and training of long-term care staff members, nursing assistants, licensed vocational nurses, care surveyors, and facility administrators that focus on teaching, research and services in the fields of geriatrics and gerontology.

Experimental Sciences Building $225,000

This funding will be used to help establish the Center for Biological and Geographical Information Systems (CBGIS) facility, which will be housed in Texas Tech's new 126,000-square-foot Experimental Sciences Building. CBGIS facility will house numerous collections of biological, geographical, ecological and climatological data. In addition, it will contain state-of-the-art computer technology, such as specialized visualization hardware and virtual reality programs. The wide-range of data combined with the advanced technology and computer programs will make this facility a premiere resource for researchers, professors and scientist in the Lubbock area.


Combest Helps Secure $5.4 Million for Lubbock Projects

Citibus Projects $2 million

Texas Tech University's Park and Ride Lot will receive $1.85 million this fiscal year. That money will be used to expand the campus and remodel several existing facilities. Citibus would shuttle students, faculty, and visitors from the lot to campus and back for various events and activities. Citibus will receive $150,000 in FY 2003 for the purchase of alternative fuel buses, which are needed to meet new state requirements.

Ports-to-Plains $2 million

This funding will be used to conduct a Corridor Management and Development Plan (CMDP) for the Ports-to-Plains Corridor. The CMDP will allow the Texas Department of Transportation, in conjunction with the Departments of Transportation for Colorado, New Mexico, and Oklahoma, to conduct the environmental and routing studies necessary to make this corridor a reality.

Grain Sorghum Research Programs $1.212 million

Combest secured funding for two research programs in Texas focusing on alternative uses for grain sorghum. A research program in Lubbock will receive $1 million in FY 2003. A grain sorghum research project being conducted at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service facility in Bushland will see a $212,000 jump in funding this fiscal year. The grain sorghum research projects strive to improve yield, drought tolerance, and generate new uses for sorghum. The Bushland-based research is examining possible use of the byproduct sorghum distiller dry grain as a possible feed. Combest secured the full amount requested for both projects.

Jobs Access Reverse Commute (JARC) $230,000

This funding will help Citibus serve five educational facilities, 100 different employers and 10 childcare centers. It is believed that this route serves 10,150 jobs of which 6,290 are entry level positions. Citibus has received JARC funding for this service, which began in May 2001. Combest received the full amount of the funding he requested for this project.

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