Vendors express frustration at Navy’s RAPIDGate program

Posted at 5:44 PM, Aug 15, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-15 17:44:54-04

“It certainly seems like game playing at times.”

Fred Becker is talking about RAPIDGate, a program put in place by the Navy two years ago that is supposed to ease congestion at base gates by pre-approving access for civilian vendors.

But he says RAPIDGate isn’t working like it should for his concrete construction company.

“You load at the plant at 300 degrees, they reject it at 250. You have a short window of getting it on base and laying it,” he says, “At NOB, everyone has to go through truck inspection. That truck can lose 35, 45 minutes. They don’t care.

Thursday, Becker aired his concerns straight to the Commander of Naval Station Norfolk at a forum held by Scott Rigell.

The congressman says it’s the number one complaint coming into his office from small businesses.

“Sometimes with finding balance between access to base and security, there is tension there,” Rigell says.

Protecting national security though, comes with real life consequences for local workers.

Tina Harvey with Capital Concrete says she’s had to turn away qualified workers because of RAPIDGate’s strict criminal history requirements.

And then there is the cost of the program.

“It would be like $25,000 for a company that has 100 employees with multiple access to bases. These are significant costs,” Rigell says.

Now the congressman is expecting to see action from the Navy, asking Captain David Culler to look into the issue.

“These things you are addressing are news to me. So we will look at it to make sure we are doing it the right way,” Culler says.