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WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senators Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) today announced that the U.S. Navy intends to invest approximately $100 million during Fiscal Year 2012 in facility upgrades and modernization at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.  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.

In November, the Government Accountability Office issued a report that found that the Navy's modernization requirements at nation’s four public shipyards were underestimated, even though the Navy has stated that the backlog of facility improvements at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is $513 million.

“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,” said Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME).  “The workforce at Kittery-Portsmouth is second to none, and facility improvements like these are an important component to ensuring that the Yard remains the most efficient and effective in the entire Navy.”

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) 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 requested the GAO report that found the Navy’s estimate of a $3 billion shortfall in modernization at our nation’s public shipyards, including $513 million at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, underestimates the actual backlog.  

“I have strongly advocated for the Navy to reverse this trend and accelerate military construction and facility modernization projects at the yard.  In particular, I raised the importance of consolidating the structural shops at the yard with Jack Lew, the President's budget director, and in a private meeting with the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Gary Roughead, during his visit to Maine last month.  In addition, I raised this critical issue again during an Armed Services Committee hearing earlier this week.  I am pleased that the Navy recognizes the critical need for these investments at the shipyard.  As a member of both the Armed Services Committee and the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, I will work tirelessly to help ensure the Navy receives the funding it needs to execute these programs. This will improve the safety and efficiency of the terrific workforce that keeps our Nation's nuclear submarines ready for sea every day,” Senator Collins continued.

"I am glad to see the Obama administration prioritize funding of these long overdue improvements at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard," said Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).  "Investments in this facility are critical to our country’s national security. Today's announcement is encouraging news to the hardworking men and women who keep the shipyard up and running. I hope to continue to work with the Administration on further improvement projects."

Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) said, “The workers at Portsmouth have a long history of executing high quality work, and this funding is a reflection of that stellar record. As a member of the Armed Services Committee, I will continue the fight to ensure that Portsmouth receives the strong support it has earned.”

Congress must still authorize and appropriate these funds as it prepares the 2012 budget.