It’s Official: $230 Million Headed to Region for Wright-Patterson
By Congressman Michael Turner (OH-03)
Recently, President Bush signed the FY2008 Defense Authorization Bill into law, officially authorizing $230 million in Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) funds for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. This is a significant step for our community during the BRAC process which will result in southwest Ohio gaining more than 1,000 new jobs at Wright-Patterson. With this $230 million signed into law, Wright-Patterson is receiving the largest military construction investment of any U.S. Air Force base for Air Force operations. It is a significant gain, not only for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, but for our entire region’s economy as we work towards preparing our military for success on the battlefields of tomorrow.
Wright-Patterson is an important economic engine for our community and for the State of Ohio. It is the largest single-site employer in the state and has an economic impact of over $1 billion every year. It is estimated that 20,000 people are employed inside the gates of Wright-Patterson and another 20,000 are employed by private companies that do business with the base. Because of this enormous economic benefit, Wright-Patterson is crucial not only for the communities adjacent to the base but for all of Southwest Ohio.
Wright-Patterson’s $230 million BRAC funds allow us to not only protect this critical economic asset but also to build upon all of its successes. Wright-Patterson will add an Air Force School of Medicine, the Air Force Institute of Operational Health, new facilities for the Air Force Research Laboratory, and the Naval Aeromedical Research Laboratory. Most Air Force medical research on the effects of flight will be conducted here. The 1,000 jobs that these facilities will add will be high-tech engineering and science research positions.
Though Wright-Patterson is a crucial economic asset, our military also depends on the base for important research. The experiments conducted at the laboratories and the school of medicine will benefit the men and women in our armed forces and better equip them to succeed at their mission. Research on the effects of G-Force on pilots; or studies on pilot fatigue from long flights and other factors will be done here and will directly benefit our soldiers.
The history of Southwest Ohio is rich with scientific advancement and invention. From the Wright-Brothers to Charles Kettering to the innovative medical research done by Dale Stokes on his raspberry farm in Wilmington, our region has always benefited from being on the cutting edge of scientific progress. It is crucial that we continue our leadership in the field of high-technology and with the additional $230 million; we are poised to continue our tradition of scientific innovation and leadership.
When the BRAC process began, our community knew how important Wright-Patterson Air Force Base was to our region and to our men and women in uniform. The gains we have made during BRAC will be central to keeping Southwest Ohio competitive in this fast changing economy. I am proud to have been on the House Armed Services Committee advocating for our community and Ohio during the BRAC process. As a community, we will continue to work to strengthen Wright-Patterson.
# # #