BOSTON (WWLP) - Governor Deval Patrick has filed a bill that spends $177 million dollars over five years to update Massachusetts' six military bases. According to a UMass study, the bases support more than 46,000 jobs and contribute more than $14 billion dollars to the Massachusetts economy.
"Over the last year the [Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force] has analyzed our military installations to determine where there are opportunities to fill vacant spaces, upgrade aging infrastructure, become more energy efficient, identify new missions and build partnership to bring more jobs and economic development at and around each site," said retired Air Force Brigadier General Donald Quenneville.
The investments could generate construction jobs and attract more missions to Massachusetts that will require more workers at the military bases.
More than $10 million dollars will go toward renovating the runway at Barnes National Guard Base in Westfield. Years of wear and tear from fighters jets have damaged the asphalt.
"It essentially just tears up the runway and then you also have the civilian traffic that comes in there so it was time to probably get a new runway anyway," said Massachusetts National Guard Brigadier General Robert Brooks.
The spending bill is unique. Massachusetts is the first state to create a task force to analyze and significantly invest in the state's military bases, a move that may be necessary as one trillion in federal spending cuts loom over the U.S. Department of Defense.