WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a Senior Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today welcomed the announcement of the lease signing with Oklahoma County as Tinker Air Force Base officially acquired the former General Motors facility.
"Today's signing is great news for Tinker, Oklahoma City and the entire state as this will likely lead to new jobs and greater economic development." Senator Inhofe said. "Thanks to everyone at General Motors, Tinker Air Force Base, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, Oklahoma County, members of the Air Staff, and the Acting Secretary of the Air Force, Mike Donley, for working through months of tough issues and never losing sight of the finish line.
"Tinker has long been a cornerstone of our state's economy, particularly the aerospace industry. The planned re-use of the idle General Motors facility as the new Tinker Aerospace Complex will give the base flexibility to accommodate new military work, leverage new processes and create partnerships with private sector suppliers. As Tinker officially leases the former GM plant today, Oklahoma County residents can look forward to more high-paying jobs and additional economic benefits.
"The success of Tinker Air Force Base has always depended on the ability of local leaders to think innovatively and create opportunities for the base to grow. Investing in Tinker Air Force Base is an investment in Oklahoma's future," Inhofe concluded.
Acting Secretary Donley welcomed the news today and praised Senator Inhofe for his leadership in making the GM plant signing a reality. "The Air Force is very pleased to enter into a low-cost, long-term lease agreement with Oklahoma for the GM facility south of Tinker. This facility will enhance operations at Tinker and provide long term benefits to the Air Force. This effort is yet another example of how the great State of Oklahoma and Tinker's surrounding communities work together in an unprecedented partnership to preserve and enhance our national security."
Tinker Air Force Base currently employs more than 26,000 military service members and civilians and is the largest single-site employer in Oklahoma. In May 2008, Oklahoma County voters approved a $55 million bond to allow the county to buy the abandoned GM facility and lease it to Tinker Air Force Base.
The availability and location of the GM facility coupled with Tinker's need to replace sixty-nine substandard facilities made this proposal an ideal match. Tinker Air Force Base intends to mothball and subsequently tear down 69 buildings, of which 21 buildings are directly related to the Tinker Aerospace Complex. The 21 buildings will account for approximate $2.6 million savings annually in energy costs and approximately $300 million in AF military construction costs when the moves are completed. It will improve the quality of life and safety of Tinker personnel, and will save taxpayers' money by consolidating facilities and improving workforce and energy efficiencies.