Our view: State has committed to sub base
September 26, 2010
Last month, on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commissionís decision to remove the Groton submarine base from the Pentagonís base closings list, concerns for the baseís future became a talking point in the state elections. Candidates vying for Congress and the governorís office used the occasion to pledge their support to protect the base from further base-closing rounds.
There is no threat of another base-closing effort at this point ó but thatís not to say there wonít be one in the future. And the best defense is an active offense.
Last week, Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who is not seeking re-election this year, jumped on the bandwagon by formally offering the U.S. Navy another $3.2 million in state funds to finance the construction of a submarine bridge simulator and culinary training center at the base.
The funding is from a pool of $50 million in bond money set aside several years ago to assist in financing projects aimed at enhancing the baseís military value ó a key criteria used in base-closing rounds.
Connecticut is the only state that has such an arrangement with the Navy to use state money for infrastructure improvements at the military facility.
Nearing $13 million
The Navy agreed to the proposal by accepting $7.65 million for construction of a diving support facility and new boiler two years ago. Two other projects were approved by the state Bonding Commission in August. This new offer would bring the stateís total investment in the base to date to more than $13 million.
The base is a key component of the stateís economy, contributing directly and indirectly $3 billion to the economy and 15,000 jobs. Its presence here in southeastern Connecticut is a cornerstone of our economy.
We applaud the governor for this new offer. Not only does it demonstrate the commitment the state has to the submarine base, but it also aids the stateís struggling economy with the potential of more Connecticut workers being hired to do the work.