JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The battle to land an aircraft carrier for Naval Station Mayport appears to have reached an end with Mayport on the winning end.
U.S. Senator Bill Nelson and Congressman Ander Crenshaw, in town today for a news conference, said the Department of Defense has signed off on making Mayport the second port on the East Coast for a carrier.
Lawmakers from Florida and Virginia have battled for years on the merits of moving one of five carriers ported at Norfolk, Virginia, to Mayport.
"This has been about the most reviewed project that I have ever seen," said Crenshaw during the news conference.
"The final decision this time is in fact a final decision," said the Republican lawmaker.
The Department of Defense's Quadrennial Defense Review submitted to Congress confirmed the need of having a nuclear aircraft carrier in Mayport as being in the best interest of national defense.
"The Secretary of Defense looked me in the eyes 2 1/2 months ago and said you don't have anything to worry about," said Nelson, who found comfort in the Defense Department putting that on paper.
"Just the aircraft carrier itself with half billion dollars in construction, 4,000 sailors and all the attended business that goes along with that is a huge economic shot in the arm for Jacksonville," said Nelson.
READ MORE FROM VIRGINIA AND FLORIDA LEADERS
Both Nelson and Crenshaw say $75 million is already budgeted and in the bank to begin dredging work and pier renovations at Mayport.
Crenshaw says the area has scored in a big way in landing a carrier which he called "recession proof."
"The impact of one Super Bowl and that happens year after year after year," is how Crenshaw summed up having a carrier and an air wing back on the First Coast.
Local lawmakers say Congress still has to act on funding the carrier over the next five years. Crenshaw says it is very likely within three to five years a carrier could be again homeported at Mayport.
First Coast News