Press Release

Congressman Cuellar Announces Nearly $948 Million of Nationwide Federal Courthouse Construction Funds that Include New San Antonio Federal Courthouse

Bipartisan effort delivers $135 million to replace John H. Wood Jr. Courthouse

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Washington, December 16, 2015 | Riley Brands ((202) 226-0507) | comments
Today Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) announced the inclusion of nearly $948 million in the Fiscal Year 2016 appropriations omnibus package for federal courthouse projects. This money includes funding for the construction of a new federal courthouse for the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas in San Antonio, Texas. In September, Congressman Cuellar, along with the entire San Antonio House of Representatives delegation, introduced legislation to provide emergency funding for the construction.

The current John H. Wood, Jr. U.S. Courthouse in San Antonio was built nearly 50 years ago and suited not to the task of administering justice but to hosting part of the 1968 World's Fair.

The courthouse as it is currently built causes numerous problems for its users. Judges, jurors, prosecutors and visitors often pass defendants charged with violent crimes in corridors and conveyances around the building. Some of the most violent drug trafficking and organized crime cases are tried in the facility, and its shortcomings, including an unprotected perimeter, pose a threat to the federal employees working there as well as the civilians who pass nearby or use the adjacent playground. The building also suffers from other flaws, including high levels of lead and iron contamination in its water, likely due to poor pipe construction, missing heating and air conditioning controls, and asbestos and mold in and around the HVAC systems.

"As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, funding the San Antonio courthouse construction was a priority of mine," Congressman Cuellar said. “The inclusion of the funding for a new federal courthouse will allow for better administration of justice as the current building was never intended for this purpose. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and I fought together in a bipartisan manner to make this funding possible. I would also like to thank Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL-4), chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government; the other members of the San Antonio delegation; the federal judges in San Antonio who use the Wood Courthouse; Mayor Ivy Taylor; and the City of San Antonio for their support in this effort."

To see the exact appropriations language, please click here.
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