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14 ships set to go to Mayport instead of Norfolk if Navy gets its way

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Posted at 8:13 PM, Aug 15, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-15 20:29:15-04

Norfolk, Va. - Both Mayport and Norfolk are on the list hoping to become the East Coast home of the Navy's 14 new Littoral Combat Ships.

The selection would bring more than 3,000 sailors and family members to the area along with millions in economic investment by the Navy.

According to a final environmental assessment released Thursday, neither base would see significant impacts from the new ships, but it seems Mayport still has an edge over Norfolk.

The Navy says Mayport has lots of open pier space from the decommissioning of frigates based there, as well as extra buildings and berthing areas they would just have to renovate.

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At Naval Station Norfolk, entire new facilities would have to be built to house, train and support the 14 ships.

“We are not satisfied with the answer and we are going to fight it,” said Congressman Scott Rigell.

Rigell has been one of the local lawmakers trying to persuade the Navy to bring those littoral combat ships to Norfolk.

He thinks the LCS is being used as a consolation prize to Mayport, after the Navy nixed plans to re-locate a carrier there.

“As for dispersal of our assets, there is a case to be made, but in this specific case, I do believe it’s politically driven,” said Rigell.

Even though the final environmental assessment recommends Mayport, the Secretary of the Navy could still choose to base the new ships in Norfolk.

No one knows when that final decision will come, and lawmakers like Rigell say they will continue to fight.

“This is best place for the LCS compliment of ships,” said Rigell.