Connecticut Gift to Navy to Benefit Local Firm
Association of Defense Communities
Defense Communities 360
March 19, 2010
The Navy has agreed to award at least one of two infrastructure projects at Naval Submarine Base New London funded by the state of Connecticut in an effort to enhance the installation’s military value to a state construction firm.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell (R) asked Navy Secretary Ray Mabus in January if the service could give special consideration to Connecticut-based firms for two projects costing $7.7 million in the “spirit of partnership.”
“In this way the Navy will benefit from Connecticut’s financing and the taxpayers of our state will see jobs created and retained in our state,” she stated. Setting aside contracts for the two projects to state firms was never intended to be a condition of the gift, Rell emphasized.
The Navy formally accepted the state’s offer to invest in the Groton sub base last September.
The contract to replace a boiler for the base’s central power plant will be awarded to a Connecticut firm under the Small Business Administration 8(a) program, Mabus told the governor last month. The second project — construction of a dive locker building — could be awarded to a local firm as well. The project will be a competitive set-aside to service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses. The procurement cannot be restricted by state residency, but market research shows there are several qualifying firms in the state that could compete for the work, Mabus said.
“That’s very good news for us,” said Bob Ross, executive director of the state’s Office of Military Affairs. “You’re seeing an immediate benefit turned right back into your state’s economy,” said Ross, who was officially sworn into his post by Rell this week after serving in an acting capacity since last summer.
The state’s primary objective was to fund projects that would boost the sub base’s military value and to ensure the Navy obtains a quality product. Gaining an investment in the local economy is an “add-on,” he said.
The state is not resting on its laurels. Officials have begun discussions with the Navy about a subsequent infrastructure project, Ross said. Funding for that project — as well as the $7.7 million gift — would come from a $50 million bond package the state approved in 2008 for investing in the base.