The U.S. House of Representatives voted for an appropriations bill on Tuesday that would direct the final $410 million needed for the Department of Veterans Affairs to construct its long-delayed replacement hospital in Louisville.
The U.S. Senate must also pass the bill before the appropriation for the project is finalized, which would move operations from the existing Robley Rex VA Medical Facility to a newly constructed facility at a 34-acre greenfield property near the intersections of Brownsboro Road and the Watterson Expressway.
Congress has appropriated $450 million to the project to date, including funds to buy the property, complete designs and begin the initial planning stages of construction.
Congressman John Yarmuth issued a statement Tuesday applauding the approval of the funding he requested for the project, “bringing us one step closer to making a state-of-the-art Veterans hospital in Louisville a reality.”
“I’ve said from day one that the most important aspect of this project was making sure that Louisville’s veterans have access to the very best care they deserve and are owed,” said Yarmuth. “Today’s vote brings us closer to that goal.”
The property selected for the replacement hospital has not been without controversy or criticism, as nearby residents have complained that it would worsen the already congested traffic in the area and the City of Crossgate directly next to the property filed a lawsuit to halt construction, accusing the VA of an illegal and biased site-selection process.
A report by the VA Inspector General in 2015 found that an improper appraisal process led to the federal agency overpaying for that property by $3 million, but that did not stop the VA from pushing forward and giving final approval for this location in late 2017.