Communities ride out base closings

Most communities where military bases were closed in the 1980s and 1990s have recovered from the economic blow of losing their Defense facilities, according to the General Accounting Office.

"While some communities surrounding military bases are faring better than others, most are recovering from the initial economic impact of base closures," Barry Holman, GAO's director of defense capabilities and management, told lawmakers in recent testimony (GAO-01-1054T). According to Holman, 62 communities have borne the brunt of Pentagon decisions to close 97 major bases since 1988. Of those communities, he said, 43 (69 percent) had unemployment rates lower than the national average in 2000. Additionally, he said, slightly more than half of those communities saw per capita incomes grow at a higher rate than the national average. Holman said the base closures are "essentially complete," but that the Defense Department had turned over less than half of the more than 500,000 acres of unneeded base land to federal, state or local government agencies or other groups. Cleaning up bases continues to be "costly and challenging" and can delay property transfers, he said. So far, Defense has spent about half of an estimated $7 billion needed to clean up the bases it has closed. Congress is keenly interested in the fate of communities where bases are closed because the Pentagon is asking lawmakers to shutter more bases beginning in 2003. Base-closing opponents have long argued that military closures can devastate local economies, while supporters have claimed that many communities are better off by using the former military land to attract new businesses.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by eSignLive by VASCO

    Mobile E-Signatures for Government

    Learn 5 key trends that accelerate government demand for mobile signing.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Management Concepts

    SPONSORED: Successful Change Management Practices in the Public Sector

    How governmental agencies implement organizational change management.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Kronos

    Solving the Workforce Compliance Challenge

    Download this eBook to learn how data and automation can help state and local agencies.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.