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LAKEHURST, NJ-The US Army’s Fort Monmouth may be hurtling toward a 2011 closure as local communities there wrestle with what to do with its 1,100 acres, but a trio of other military installations in New Jersey just got a major funding boost. Ironically, as the 2005 BRAC round called for the closure of Fort Monmouth, it also called for expansions at the Lakehurst Naval Air Engineering Station here, and at the nearby Fort Dix and McGuire Air Force Base.

That funding boost comes in the form of $179 million designated for construction at the three bases, part of the 2009 defense spending bill passed by Congress. The funding will be added to the approximately $500 million of construction currently under way at the three sites, and it’s all part of the Pentagon’s plan to turn the three bases with geographic proximity into what military officials are calling Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

“The South Jersey economy will benefit tremendously from new construction jobs,” says Rep. Jim Saxton (R-NJ), whose district includes McGuire and part of Fort Dix, in a statement. “The new joint base itself will benefit from the modernization it needs to receive new missions.”

Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), whose district includes the Lakehurst facility and a portion of Fort Dix, says that “the establishment of the joint base is already proving to be a tremendous benefit for the [Army, Navy and Air Force], as well as our local economy.”

The new funding covers a total of 10 projects at the three bases, with more than $130 million of the total going to McGuire. The projects there include nearly $42 million for new hangars, $37 million for a naval aviation supply and operations facility, nearly $29 million for a logistics operations facility, $12 million for hangar renovation, $7.4 million for a family support center, $4.3 million for a flight simulator facility and $1.8 million for a munitions maintenance facility. Most of the new McGuire facilities are being built to accommodate operations being transferred from Willow Grove, PA, an Air Force facility that itself was a BRAC victim.

Lakehurst, meanwhile, is getting $27 million for a storage and maintenance facility, including 55,000 sf of warehousing and a 20,000-sf maintenance shop; and $15.4 million for a new recovery test facility. And Fort Dix is getting $3.4 million for new training facilities.

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