Our View: Navy’s promise is positive news
The Norwich Bulletin
February 25, 2010
It’s been a long time coming, but finally the partnership between the state and the U.S. Navy is starting to bear some fruit.
Navy Secretary Raymond E. Mabus Jr. has agreed to a request from Gov. M. Jodi Rell to give preference to Connecticut companies for work to be performed at the Groton submarine base that is being paid for with state dollars. The installation of a new boiler at the sub base is being reserved for a Connecticut company.
And although the larger of two state-financed projects, construction of a new diving support facility, cannot be legally set aside for a Connecticut-only firm, it will be a competitive bid project reserved for Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses, of which there are a number here in the state and eligible to bid on the work.
The decision by Mabus is good news for Connecticut citizens. It’s only fair that at least some portion of taxpayers’ money being spent at the base be returned to the local economy.
The state is contributing $7.65 million to the Navy for the base improvements, an idea that arose nearly five years ago when the Groton facility was targeted for closure in the 2005 Base Closure and Realignment process. It is a first-of-its-kind partnership between a state and a military branch.
Difficult process
It hasn’t been an easy journey to this point, but the commitment of those involved — the governor, congressional members and the Navy — has paid off. Because of the uniqueness of the arrangement, new rules had to be implemented, and working out the details of how this partnership would work wasn’t an easy task.
We are all too aware of the importance of the base to the state, contributing directly and indirectly to more than 15,000 jobs and nearly $3 billion annually to the state’s economy. The ability to assist in enhancing the base’s military value by partnering with the Navy on needed construction projects makes sense for the state, and is a benefit to the Navy.
And now, obtaining Mabus’ assurances that at least a portion of those construction dollars will go to businesses here in the state is an added reward.