Archive for Friday, February 25, 2011

Lawmakers celebrate Kansas benefits of Air Force tanker contract win for Boeing

February 25, 2011, 4:37 p.m. Updated February 26, 2011, 12:36 a.m.


— Boeing has started hiring engineers to work on its $35 billion contract to build a new fleet of air refueling tankers for the Air Force, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said Friday.

“The employment has already begun,” Brownback told reporters at a news conference at Boeing’s defense plant in Wichita.

Brownback and the state’s congressional delegation were at the plant one day after the Pentagon selected the company to build nearly 200 airborne refueling tankers based on its 767 jetliner. Boeing was chosen over European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co.

Boeing has said the contract would support some 50,000 jobs nationwide.

A Boeing win has long been touted to create some 7,500 direct and indirect jobs in Kansas with an economic impact of $388 million. That figure includes existing and new jobs at Boeing and its suppliers, along with the ripple effect of other jobs created from the economic impact.

Boeing Wichita will be the finishing center for converting the jets into tankers. Wichita-based Spirit AeroSystems also would get work from the contract because it builds the forward section for the 767.

“We won. We got it. We are going to build it,” a jubilant Brownback said.

Members of the state’s congressional delegation weren’t predicting any hard job numbers on Friday, just that the contract will mean “a whole bunch” of jobs in Wichita.

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts said he was told by the Air Force that the Boeing bid met all of the requirements, with the emphasis on the “all.”

“How sweet it is,” Roberts told reporters. “Every once in a while, the good guys win.”

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran said it was a decision that is going to benefit America.

“The good news is the outcome itself, but it is good news to know it wasn’t close,” Moran said.

Former U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt, who worked to bring the tanker bid to Boeing for years before he was defeated in a run for senator, said that had the Air Force awarded EADS the contract it would be like outsourcing our national security.

The state’s newest congressman, U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, said it has been nearly impossible to get the smile off people’s faces in Kansas since the bid was announced.

“It reminds us all why this is the Air Capital of the World,” Pompeo said.


gccs14r 7 years, 2 months ago

That's funny, calling it a Boeing plant, since Boeing sold most of the facilities to Spirit Aerosystems (owned by Onex, a Canadian company) in 2004. I don't know what's left, but it can't be much with only 1,800 people there.

Phillbert 7 years, 2 months ago

It's also funny that they're celebrating $35 billion in government spending. Shouldn't they be "fiscally responsible" and turn it down? After all, some Republicans don't think that jobs created by government spending are real jobs.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 2 months ago

If saving money is the object, then mothballing the whole fleet and not replacing it would save at least $35 billion.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

"Also don't forget that when you slash the defense budget you slash manufacturing, "

No, we'd just be manufacturing things that are actually useful, and would in turn stimulate further useful economic activity.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 2 months ago

Yea, with one exception, this is really no different from the stimulus spending Republicans like to complain about-- it's government spending that adds to the deficit just as surely as any other government spending does.

The way it's different from most of the stimulus spending is that once the planes are built, they are actually a drain on the economy to maintain and operate, whereas most of the stimulus spending provides infrastructure and other improvements that feed back into and boost the economy for years and decades to come.

tomatogrower 7 years, 2 months ago

It's only pork when some other state gets the money. Where are the Tea Party people on this? Aren't you guys upset? Government money creating jobs? The silence from the far right is deafening.

tomatogrower 7 years, 1 month ago

While I don't mind having the jobs here in Kansas, how can these politicians, like Roberts, condemn government spending, then go after as much of it as possible? They will condemn Obama for spending tax dollars on rebuilding infrastructure, which creates jobs, but they are in favor of this kind of spending? The state politicians want to gut funding for special education, which will lose federal monies, and cost jobs and children. But we will celebrate this kind of federal money? Where are all the jobs from the tax cuts? Where are all the private sector jobs you promised would be created by cutting taxes? How are the government suppose to cut taxes, and pay for these contracts?

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