Congressman Kim Speaks Out for Strengthening Joint Base

May 16, 2019
Press Release

Congressman Kim Speaks Out for Strengthening Joint Base

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03) submitted the following statement for the record to the New Jersey State Senate Military and Veterans’ Committee on the importance of strengthening infrastructure impacting Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

I want to thank the Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee, in particular Chairman Gopal and Vice-Chairman Andrzejczak, for holding this hearing to shine a light on this important issue.

 

I also want to thank State Senator Singleton, Rick Eckstein and Freeholder O’Connell for their insight and advocacy on behalf of the people in our community.

 

Building an overpass over Route 539 isn’t just an infrastructure issue. It’s not just a military construction issue or a military readiness issue. It’s not just a public safety issue or an economic development issue. This overpass is all of those things to our community, and it’s why it’s absolutely essential we come together and find a path towards making this a reality.

 

Last month, the Burlington County Times called this overpass, “key to ‘BRAC-proofing’” our Joint Base.

 

Our Joint Base has a long history with the BRAC process. In 1988, Fort Dix found itself on the BRAC list. Since then, we’ve seen rumors fly about other facilities in New Jersey.

 

Those rumors can turn to reality all too quickly. And when they do, the impact they can make is drastic. That is why I joined the House Armed Services Committee and the Subcommittee for Readiness that oversees both BRAC and military construction.  

 

I want to talk to you today about the impact of inaction, and why we need to move together, move boldly and move now to build the Route 539 overpass.

 

If we don’t act, we put tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars at risk. There are 65,000 indirect jobs supported by our Joint Base. There is an approximate $7 billion in economic impact created by the work done here every day. Those are numbers that can make or break our community, and we can’t afford to put those jobs and the families they support at risk.

 

If we don’t act, we put military readiness at risk. Nearly a quarter of all military reservists live within 300 miles of the Joint Base. A third of all Army Reserve and Army National Guard personnel are within a three-hour drive of the Joint Base. Our community is a hub for training and readiness that ensures that our military is prepared for the next generation of threats. We simply can’t afford to put that readiness at risk.

 

If we don’t act, we put lives at risk. Families that drive Route 539 face an unnecessary and unacceptable danger from unsafe roads and high traffic. We simply can’t afford to put our families at risk.

 

While it easy to see the consequences of inaction, the benefits of action are even more apparent. Our Joint Base is strong, but with the help of this overpass, we can make it even stronger. Attracting new missions, bringing new training opportunities and creating safer communities are all things we can agree on.  

 

I am committed to being a partner to all of you here today to get this done and to see the benefits we’ve all acknowledged become a reality.

 

Together, we can ‘BRAC-proof’ the Joint Base and protect and grow this economic engine for our state. Together, we can help strengthen our community and we can make sure we never have to face the consequences of inaction on the Route 539 overpass.

 

Congressman Kim is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, and sits on the Subcommittee on Readiness, which has jurisdiction over Department of Defense policy and programs and accounts related to military readiness, training, military construction, base realignments and closures.

 

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