NORFOLK, Va. -- A Virginia congressman this morning said the Navy has delayed the proposed move of an aircraft carrier home-ported in Norfolk to Mayport, but Florida Rep. Ander Crenshaw said that's not the case.
Mayport and Norfolk have been sparring for years about a nuclear aircraft carrier; Norfolk has five, Mayport has none since the 2007 decommissioning of the USS John F. Kennedy.
After much back and forth discussion, the Navy announced it would move a carrier from Norfolk to Mayport.
Money has already been approved to dredge the channel and improve the wharf for a newer, larger ship than has ever called Mayport home.
As recently as March, the Navy has continued to say the move is on, and could happen within about five years.
Rep. Glenn Nye's (D-Va.) office said Thursday the earliest the move will occur is now 2019, five years later than earlier predictions.
Nye said Navy officials informed him of the change during a visit to Mayport Naval Station this week, according to the Associated Press.
Crenshaw (R-Fla.) issued the following statement:
"Congressman Nye was swept into office with President Obama. Now in the political fight of his life, he is saying whatever he thinks will get him more votes, whether it's grounded in fantasy or reality. He's is scrambling the dates to try and achieve his own political goals.
"A high-ranking Navy official told me this morning that the schedule to homeport a nuclear aircraft at Naval Station Mayport remains the same as it did a year and a half ago when the final Record of Decision was signed. Nothing has changed.
"The Navy presented Congressman Nye with the same information that has been provided to everyone else. There is nothing new here.
"A 2019 homeport date is a worst case scenario and would only occur if each and every step of the process took the longest amount of time possible. Frankly, the Navy would do it faster if there were more money. We know that homeporting a carrier at Mayport remains a top priority for the Navy and is in the best strategic interest of our nation.
"The dredging and pier improvements now underway underscore that bringing a carrier on the First Coast is not a plan on paper. It's a reality that will happen sooner rather than later."
Our partner the Navy Times provided a look at what Norfolk potentially would lose when a carrier moves to Mayport.