Navy Secretary Visits Portsmouth Shipyard, Offers Funding Reassurances

May 3, 2019

Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer speaks at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard with members of New Hampshire and Maine’s Congressional delegations Friday.
Credit Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Federal lawmakers say they've been assured that funding won't be taken from Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to pay for President Donald Trump's proposed Southern border wall.

The Congressional delegations of New Hampshire and Maine toured the shipyard Friday with Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer, touting its successes and its impact on the local economy.

Maine Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree says Spencer’s visit reaffirms the shipyard's importance.

"When we saw the scope of the work that's going on today – nobody can say to us, 'Oh it's OK, we're going to hold up that project this year and we'll give you the funding next year.' That won't work,” she says.

The shipyard is slated to receive $223 million for major infrastructure upgrades between February and July of this year.

The military included those projects on a list of ones whose funding could be reallocated to help build a border wall. But they say projects that receive funding before this fall are off the table.

"We'll continue to keep our eye on that because it is so critical to the shipyard, so critical to the nation's defense, that these projects get done,” says New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan.

Shipyard officials say they're not worried the funds won't come through.