NORFOLK, Va. I(WVEC)-- Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson are behind a new push to move a Navy aircraft carrier to Naval Station Mayport.
The pair co-authored a letter in an effort to get President Donald J.Trump to put money in next year's defense budget.
Last March, the 29-member Florida Congressional delegation wrote another letter, saying the carrier fleet should be dispersed, as a matter of national security. But in April, the Chief of Naval operations Admiral John Richardson, said it's very difficult to find money to relocate a ship.
Retired rear Admiral Craig Quigley of the Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance says making infrastructure improvements at Naval Station Mayport in Florida could reach $1 billion.
"The Navy wants to put its money in new ships and repair and modernization of existing ships, not redundant shore infrastructure," he said.
A carrier move would be very costly to the Hampton Roads economy.
In 2013, the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission projected that a carrier move would mean the loss of 3,200 crew members, 2,000 people in the air wing, and a total employment reduction of more than 10,400 jobs.
Old Dominion University's Economic Forecasting Project estimates that would translate into a loss of gross product of $750 million, or, 0.79 percent of overall economic activity.
Virginia Senator Mark Warner in a statement to 13 News Now, said such a move is a bad idea.
He wrote: "This proposal would prematurely move a single carrier at a cost of $1 billion taxpayer dollars, without a proper comprehensive analysis of our national security needs."
Quigley added, there are no shipyards in the Jacksonville area capable of working on a modern day carrier.
"Plus, the skilled workforce to work on a nuclear powered warship of that complexity, it's right here in Hampton Roads," he said. "It's not in northeast Florida."
Back in 2012, Florida did succeed in convincing the Navy to move three Hampton Roads-based amphibious ships--the USS New York, the USS Iwo Jima and the USS Fort McHenry. In all, more than 18-hundred sailors made that move.
© 2018 WVEC-TV