3 Mar 2011 By CHRISTOPHER P. CAVAS DefenseNews
A new government estimate of the cost to build a home port for a nuclear aircraft carrier in Florida claims the facility could be built for nearly half the U.S. Navy's cost estimate. The Navy says it would cost $537 million to upgrade its existing Mayport base to accommodate a nuke. But the Government Accountability Office (GAO), in a report released March 3, puts the cost at between $356 million and as little as $259 million - 48 percent of the Navy's estimate. The biggest difference in the forecasts, according to the GAO, is in the estimates to build new facilities at Mayport. GAO sees the cost to build the controlled industrial facility at $70.5 million, while the Navy estimates $139.1 million. The ship maintenance support facilities can be had for $45.6 million, GAO estimates, while the Navy says it will cost just over $157 million. Different methods used to estimate the cost of protecting buildings from a potential storm surge from a Category 4 hurricane was a major factor in the cost differential, Navy officials and GAO said.