November 27, 2003 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Luke Air Force Base got a boost in its efforts to remain open after Congress granted the base a $14.3 million wish.The money, part of a Military Construction appropriation request, will be used for development rights and land acquisition around Luke.
The base has been struggling with land encroachment issues for years, most recently heightened by the West Valley's residential-development boom.
A group of Arizona Republicans have been staunch supporters of Luke in Washington, D.C.
They called the congressional approval a 'psychological and physical victory' for Luke, and a step in the right direction against 'mindless' encroachment.
Luke's future still may be uncertain, however. In 2005, the federal Base Realignment and Closure Commission, in an effort to cut back on military spending, will determine which, if any, of Arizona's major bases will be shut down.
Luke trains more F-16 fighter pilots than any other Air Force base in the world, and annually contributes a $2 billion economic impact to Maricopa County and the state.