Sub Base Projects Backed By State
By Jennifer McDermott
August 04, 2010
$3.2 million for 2 training facilities
Groton- The state of Connecticut is allocating another $3 million for projects at the Naval Submarine Base to help ensure the base's future.
Connecticut became the first state to fully fund a construction project on a base last year when Gov. M. Jodi Rell gave Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus $7.65 million to make improvements at the submarine base.
Now Rell plans to give the Navy another $3.22 million for projects that will improve the training for the officers and sailors at the Naval Submarine School. Rell said Tuesday that she expects the state Bond Commission to approve the funding on Aug. 11.
Mabus returned to the base on Saturday for the commissioning of the USS Missouri (SSN 780).
"I do think it's a wonderful program that Connecticut has," Mabus said, when asked about the state's investment in the base. "It shows the faith Connecticut has in its work force. It shows the faith Connecticut has in the military, and it shows the faith that Connecticut has in the Navy in particular. I would urge other states to take a close look at it."
There is not any talk of another Defense Base Closure and Realignment process, Mabus added. This month is the five-year anniversary of the independent Base Closure and Realignment Commission's vote to keep the 687-acre base open.
One of the primary reasons the Pentagon proposed closing the base was its aging infrastructure. The legislature authorized $40 million for improvements to the base in 2007. The $7.65 million will be used to upgrade the facility for divers and replace the aging boilers at the power plant. Construction is expected to begin this fall.
The base has an annual impact of $3 billion to the state's economy, with more than 15,000 jobs linked to it.
"Connecticut is immensely proud to be the 'Submarine Capital of the World' and I am committed to keeping that title," Rell said. "It is an issue of military necessity, and it is an issue of economic survival."
The projects will enhance the military value of the base and reduce the likelihood it will be singled out for closure again, Rell added.
Of the $3.22 million, $2.48 million will be used to build an addition to an existing building to house a new submarine bridge trainer. Funding for the $4 million simulator, used to help train officers and sailors in submarine navigation, is included in the Navy's budget.
The rest of the money will be spent on converting a portion of a building into a full-size replica of a Virginia-class submarine galley to train culinary specialists.
"With the state's $7.65 million investment in base projects already, we remain excited about Connecticut's continuing interest in improving the services, infrastructure and work environment at the Naval Submarine Base," said Chris Zendan, base spokesman.