Sunday, July 08, 2007

Looks like folks in New Jersey find it rather ironic Maryland needs help handling BRAC

A story in today's Asbury Park Press indicates folks in New Jersey find it rather ironic that the Marylanders who convinced the military to close their Fort Monmouth base and move those jobs to Maryland are now asking the federal government for help paying for the infrastructure upgrades we'll need to accomodate them.

According to the story:

"Maryland's victory in the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure round is squeezing the state's ability to afford the spoils, and its congressional delegation is asking for more federal money to subsidize the job boom the state lobbied to get.

"In the two years since state officials touted Maryland's readiness to accept Fort Monmouth's mission, state planners have identified at least $16 billion in unfunded infrastructure improvements necessary to accommodate the largest job influx since World War II."

The story goes on to say:

"Rep. Frank J. Pallone Jr., D-N.J., said he wasn't surprised that Maryland is now asking for federal help.

"What happens with BRAC is that they make their case and try and say it's not going to cost them anything, and then when the decision is made they go back and ask for everything imaginable," Pallone said. "That's what you're getting."

The story points out what New Jersey is losing and what Maryland stands to gain with the influx:

"If Fort Monmouth closes as scheduled in 2011, New Jersey also will lose an estimated $3.3 billion the post contributes annually to the state economy. Maryland, however, expects the results of the 2005 BRAC round to pump nearly $10 billion into its economy."

Then it goes on to list Maryland leaders touting the state's readiness for BRAC back when they were making their case to the federal government to bring the jobs here:

"Maryland stands ready to give full support, providing a work force ideally tailored to the future, a quality of life second to none, and infrastructure that meets all future requirements," Aris Melissaratos, then secretary of Maryland's Department of Business & Economic Development, wrote in a Aug. 23, 2005, letter to former BRAC commission Chair Anthony Principi."

It ends by pointing out the Aberdeen -- home to Aberdeen Proving Ground, which is expected to see in influx of about 8,200 BRAC jobs -- has been having its own unrelated troubles of late.

"The Maryland State Prosecutor's Office last month issued a subpoena at City Hall, demanding financial records, travel vouchers and other documents from several members of Simmons' administration, according to City Manager Douglas R. Miller."

No comments: