he base has historically served as the homeport to certain conventionally-powered aircraft carriers of the Atlantic Fleet, including the USS Shangri-La (CV-38), USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV-42), USS Forrestal (CV-59), USS Saratoga (CV-60), and most recently the USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67). With the decommissioning of all conventionally-powered aircraft carriers by the Navy, no carriers are presently assigned to Mayport. However, both houses of Congress have passed legislation authorizing about US $75 million for dredging and upgrades at Mayport to accommodate a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.
On January 29, 2010 the Quadrennial Defense Review Report stated that a nuclear aircraft carrier would be homeported at NAS Mayport. The action will help protect the fleet against a potential terror attack, accident or natural disaster, because all east coast aircraft carriers are currently based at Naval Station Norfolk, according to the report. West coast aircraft carriers are split between Naval Station San Diego and Naval Base Kitsap in Washington state. Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense stated, "Having a single (nuclear carrier) homeport has not been considered acceptable on the west coast and should not be considered acceptable on the east coast." The decision was opposed by elected officials in Virgina, who would lose 3,500 sailors and their dependents, $425 million in revenue each year, and most importantly, 6,000 support jobs. The Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce estimated the loss at 11,000 jobs and $650 million per year. Infrastructure changes and facility construction at Mayport are estimated to take five years and cost over half a billion dollars. The 2011 budget commits $590 million during the fiscal years from 2011-2019, so a carrier may not move to Mayport until 2019.[7
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