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Local economy will benefit from Robins stimulus funds

Local businesses and Middle Georgia’s overall economy should receive a significant boost over the next several months as Robins Air Force Base obligates its $35 million allocation from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The funding, announced by Robins officials Tuesday, will cover 77 construction and facility improvement projects, ranging from a $2,000 replacement of storm drainage grates to almost $4 million for runway repairs. The money is part of $7.4 billion allocated to the Defense Department from the $787 billion reinvestment act package. The Air Force total was $1.7 billion.

About $28 million of the Robins amount will be obligated through full and open competition, officials say. The remainder will be accomplished through delivery orders placed against existing contracts competitively awarded in the past. The goal is to obligate the $35 million in 120 days.

“The ones going out for full and open competition are generally the larger projects with higher dollar values,” said Col. Warren Berry, the 78th Air Base Wing commander. “They are significant projects that will greatly benefit either the mission of the base or the quality of life.”

Some 14 projects are related to heating and ventilation and will reduce base energy consumption. All 77 cover existing requirements that could not be funded in previous years.

Berry said the 120-day obligation goal meets the president’s intent to quickly spur the economy and satisfies overall Air Force targets.

“However, if that doesn’t happen in every case and 120 days pass, we’re not at risk of losing the funds,” the commander added.

Walter Wolfe, director of contracting operations for the 78th Comptroller and Contracting Squadron, said full information on base solicitations and contract awards is always available on the fedbizopps.cos.com Web site.

“For the larger contracts — and even for the smaller projects that we put on preawarded contracts — there will be subcontracting opportunities for all kinds of firms,” he said. “We will be posting a notice of all awards on fedbizopps.cos.com, and the best bet for subcontractors is to contact the primes directly and not go through us.”

Wolfe said the Web site is a significant tool for companies wanting to do business on the base.

“That’s the mandatory place where we synopsize all of our requirements,” he noted. “Contractors can go on the Web site and register. It’s free and they can get an e-mail notification anytime we solicit something, whether it’s construction, services or aircraft support.”

Even if a prime contractor is out of state, local companies and businesses will benefit, Berry said.

“If the contractor brings in his own work force, it will have a significantly positive impact on local hotels, motels and restaurants,” he noted. “Of course, he could also hire from the Middle Georgia region.”

Supplies and materials are also a plus, Berry believes. “Even an out-of-state contractor buys all of their materials from the local area,” he said. “It’s a lot more cost-effective than to truck it in from their home base. So there are secondary and tertiary effects of this that will certainly be felt by the local economy in a very positive way.”

To contact Gene Rector, call 923-3109, extension 239.

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