Hopes for federal money to save Moffett Field's historic Hangar One were dashed on Tuesday when it was announced that the House Appropriations Committee removed $32.8 million for new Hangar One siding from NASA's 2012 budget.
The move followed a NASA Inspector General report which criticized the NASA Ames Research Center request for the $32.8 million when more "mission critical" NASA projects would be delayed.
"The President's budget included $32.8 million for the re-skinning of the historic Hangar One," said congresswoman Anna Eshoo in an email. "It's deeply disappointing to see the Republicans cut out the entire funding, but I will not give up fighting for the complete restoration of Hangar One. It's a national treasure and when re-skinned, it will once again be an essential asset to Silicon Valley and our country."
"There have been many bumps in the road" for Hangar One, Eshoo said. "I consider this yet another bump."
The report that accompanied the committee's decision said committee members understood that NASA is "considering additional options for the renovation and use of the hangar," that may not involve NASA's re-siding of it. NASA officials said last month that the agency will consider giving Hangar One to another government agency and will even consider demolishing it entirely.E
shoo's staff stressed that it's not over yet for the $32.8 million request, the budget must still go through "the ringer" and obtain approval from the house, senate and the president. Leadership in both houses know that Hangar One is a priority for Eshoo.
Bill Berry, former NASA Ames official and co-chair of the Moffett Field Restoration Advisory Board, said in an email that the request would likely be denied in 2012 and 2013, given the political climate in Washington D.C. The board will meet Thursday evening to discuss Hangar One, and may vote to send a letter in support of Hangar One to the Inspector General and local Congress members.
Hangar One is being stripped of its toxic siding this year and this week the metal skeleton underneath became exposed for the first time. Preservationists hope it won't remain that way for long, but at this point, it could remain a bare skeleton for years.
The idea of the city taking on ownership of hangar has gained support from some preservationists, but city officials have yet to make any visible action in that direction since Mayor Jac Siegel's comments last month that the city would certainly study the idea if asked to by federal legislators.
The RAB meets 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 14, at the Mountain View Senior Center, 266 Escuela Avenue.