Tuesday, February 14, 2012

From U.S. Representative Scott Rigell, 2nd District of Virginia

Funding for Mayport Improvements
Stripped from FY13 Pentagon Budget

Washington – Today the Pentagon released its FY13 budget without military construction funds to homeport a nuclear carrier at Naval Station Mayport.  The news presents a severe setback to those pushing for a carrier move to Florida and is widely interpreted as good news for Hampton Roads. 
Representative Scott Rigell, a member of the House Armed Services Committee who has spent the past year working to stop the anticipated carrier move to Florida, applauded the news that the homeport shift – estimated to cost between $500 million and $1 billion – had effectively been canceled.
“After persistent efforts from the Hampton Roads delegation to stop this carrier move, it appears the President has finally recognized that spending scarce resources to improve Naval Station Mayport is strategically unwise and unnecessary,” said Rigell.  “Our local House delegation has done its job on behalf of Hampton Roads and the nation – and it is a clear victory for our region,” added Rigell, who worked to successfully strike the funding from the House defense authorization bill last year.
Given the pressure for cuts across the defense budget, Rigell and his Hampton Roads colleagues, Representatives Forbes and Wittman, encouraged the Administration to take this expense off the table indefinitely.  The Congressmen appealed publicly via personal and delegation letters to the President, Secretaries of Defense Gates and Panetta, and other senior military officials including the Chief of Naval Operations.  On Monday, they learned their efforts were successful.
“Today’s budget makes it crystal clear that now we are all on the same page,” Rigell said.  “Sending a carrier to Mayport is unwise, and it should not happen.  I am proud to have been a part of seeing this through.”

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