EL CENTRO – It will take a few more months to see the final environmental impact study on base options for the U.S. Navy’s Joint Strike Fighter planes on the West Coast.
The Navyâ€™s decision on homebasing for the squadron was expected to be finalized by the end of 2013. But Ted Brown, spokesperson for the Navy, said the government shutdown postponed the decision on which location to pick â€” Lemoore or El Centro.
The draft study released last winter had given the nod to Lemoore over El Centro for the 100-jet base. The Secretary of the Navy is expected to make the final decision 30 days after the final study’s release.
Earlier this month, the El Centro City Council agreed to contribute $10,000 to the Imperial Valley United for Joint Strike Fighter Coalition to boost lobbying efforts for basing the F-35C Squadron in El Centro.
According to Imperial County officials, the base could bring an estimated $400 million in economic impact to the region.
According to the draft report, the cost of building the base in El Centro could be about $790 million compared to $242 million in Lemoore. The difference is attributed to a lack of infrastructure in El Centro.