Friday, March 18, 2011

Shipyard Continues to Affect Maine Economy

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist
The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard continued to be a major contributor to the economies of southern Maine and southeastern New Hampshire in 2010 with indications of even further increases this year.
The Seacoast Shipyard Association recently released the Economic Impact Study for the calendar year 2010, showing growing employment, the purchase of goods and services, and contracted facility services.
Civilian employment at the Kittery facility has risen from 3,648 in 1998 to 5,168 last year with a corresponding increase in payroll. In 1998, workers earned $192,008,527, while last year’s payroll was set at $395,166,516.
The total civilian payroll for the shipyard is set at over $395 million, and $227,335,288 of that is to workers in the state of Maine. A total of 2,911 Mainers are employed there. New Hampshire’s 2,015 workers have a payroll of $149,514,994.
The military payroll also showed an increase over 2009. The 2010 figures included $24,961,035 for Navy personnel and $14,978,396 for the Coast Guard.
The shipyard purchased over $44 million in goods and services, $6.4 million from Maine and $4.3 million from New Hampshire providers. Over $20 million worth of goods and services were purchased in the six New England states.
Good news on the horizon for the shipyard came in a joint press release from Republican U.S. Sen. Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, New Hampshire Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, announcing that the Navy proposes to invest approximately $100 million during Fiscal Year 2012 in facility upgrades and modernization.
The funding, provided through the Sustainment, Restoration and Modernization (SRM) budget, would be used for energy conservation and repairs to submarine enclosures, building renovations, repair to the waterfront support facility and structural repair and consolidation of the yard’s workshops.
“This announcement represents an important commitment by the Navy to the future of the Kittery-Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and I am pleased by this response to our efforts to encourage such investments in the long-term health of the Yard’s facilities,” Sen. Snowe said.
Sen. Susan Collins said, “This is wonderful news not only for the dedicated men and women who work at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, and their families, but also for the economy of the greater York County region.”
“I am glad to see the Obama administration prioritize funding of these long overdue improvements at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard,” Sen. Shaheen said. “Investments in this facility are critical to our country’s national security. (This) announcement is encouraging news to the hardworking men and women who keep the shipyard up and running.”
“The workers at Portsmouth have a long history of executing high quality work, and this funding is a reflection of that stellar record,” Sen. Ayotte said. “As a member of the Armed Services Committee, I will continue the fight to ensure that Portsmouth receives the strong support it has earned.”
The funding is contingent on Congressional authorization and appropriation of the funds in the 2012 budget.