ROMNEY MAKES $261M BID TO EXPAND HANSCOM, NATICK BASES
Emphasizing his commitment to the state's two largest and most valuable defense technology centers, Governor Mitt Romney today filed legislation to invest $261 million to expand Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford and the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center in Natick.
Romney estimated that the proposed expansion will add 4,200 new jobs to the 33,000 jobs now supported by the two facilities.
"The preservation and enhancement of these two important technical facilities are critical for our state economy and the evolving mission and capabilities of the nation's military," said Romney.
He added, "Working with the community, our congressional delegation and members of the Legislature, we have been making the case to military officials that Massachusetts possesses a critical cluster of intellectual, economic and human resources that maximizes the military value of these installations."
"With this bond, the Commonwealth is demonstrating its commitment to Natick and Hanscom," said Senator Edward M. Kennedy. "We know the great importance of these bases to our national security today and their potential impact in the years ahead is even greater. I'm confident that many in the Department are convinced of the strength of our case."
The investment, paid for through bond funds, will significantly upgrade the Hanscom and Natick facilities, increasing their competitiveness in the upcoming Base Realignment and Closure process.
The Hanscom expansion will increase mission capacity on the base by 125 percent, or 1.25 million square feet, while helping create a more cost-effective operation for the Pentagon. The plan will be funded by the state at a total estimated cost of $242 million, with up to an additional $168 million in self-financed military housing to be built by private developers. Also funded through the bond bill are infrastructure improvements at and around the base to improve local commuter traffic.
The state's $19 million new vision for Natick will create 110,000 square feet of new mission related space and has the potential to bring 200 permanent new jobs to the state in the near future. In addition, the Commonwealth has committed to working with the Department of Defense on identifying resources to create a Soldiers Systems Technology Collaboration Center, which would be a joint venture between the government, technology firms and academia to enhance collaboration and innovation for military and homeland security technology development.
Governor Romney and Senator Kennedy are the co-chairs of the Massachusetts Defense Technology Initiative (DTI) - a public-private partnership of business, scientific, and educational leaders and public officials working to protect these facilities from possible closure.
Chris Anderson, President of Massachusetts DTI, said, "This legislation represents the culmination of an innovative and cooperative effort between all levels of Massachusetts government and the state's defense technology community. Through the leadership of Senator Kennedy and Governor Romney, the Commonwealth has displayed its commitment to the future of these bases and their significant contribution to the mission of the U.S. military."