Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) today vowed to keep fighting plans to move the beloved U.S.N.S. Comfort from her home berth in the Port of Baltimore to Norfolk, Va. Congressman Ruppersberger has questioned the proposal for the past 18 months.
"The Comfort is a source of pride, jobs and tax dollars for Maryland," Congressman Ruppersberger said. "The Navy feels that this move will be better for their interests and bottom line, which I understand and appreciate during this difficult economy. That said, the government recently spent $5 million to upgrade the Comfort's pier in Baltimore, allowing it to lay berth there for another 20 years. I will continue to do everything I can to make that happen."
The Comfort has a permanent staff onboard to ensure readiness, providing 145 direct, indirect and induced jobs with an annual salary of $7.3 million. The Comfort provides an estimated $3 million in local purchases and nearly $1 million in state and local tax revenues.
Previously, Congressman Ruppersberger has introduced legislation requiring the Navy to first conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis of the proposed move. He also tried to block funding for the move in an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011.