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Governor Asa Hutchinson shares details of Amendment 82 project
Tuesday, May 26, 2015 · 10:34 am
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (May 26, 2015) – Governor Asa Hutchinson announced today he is calling a special session for state legislators to consider $87.1 million in general obligation bonds under the authority of Amendment 82. The financing will go toward a Lockheed Martin manufacturing facility in East Camden that would produce the company’s new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) developed by the U.S. Army and the Marine Corps. Lockheed Martin is one of three companies under consideration for the contract to manufacture the JLTV. A decision from the Pentagon is expected in July 2015. The JLTV will replace the Humvee, which has been used by the military since 1985.
Should Lockheed Martin win the contract, the company plans to invest more than $125 million in the East Camden facility. Approximately 600 new full-time positions will be created at the facility and as many as 655 indirect jobs will be created in South Arkansas as a result of this project.
Governor Hutchinson was joined by Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton and Rep. Bruce Westerman at a news conference today at the State Capitol to discuss the project.
“I think this is exactly the type of project Arkansas voters had in mind when they approved Amendment 82,” Governor Hutchinson said. “If East Camden is ultimately chosen as the site for this new facility, South Arkansas will experience a tremendous economic impact for years to come. We need to make this happen, which is why I have chosen to call the General Assembly into special session.”
If Lockheed Martin wins the contract, the East Camden, Arkansas manufacturing facility will be the first original equipment manufacturer (OEM) in the state.
“Securing a contract of this magnitude is important for providing a solid economic foundation for the future of our state, South Arkansas and the people who call this region home,” said Boozman. “As home to businesses that contribute to our nation’s defense, East Camden would be a perfect fit for this facility. The potential for attracting hundreds of highly skilled, quality jobs that will strengthen our national defense and protect our nation’s service members is well deserving of the attention of our state lawmakers. I applaud Governor Hutchinson for his commitment to economic development and job creation in our state.”
The JLTV is a fully integrated combat tactical system that meets today’s requirements but was also designed with the future in mind. It offers higher levels of crew protection, substantial increase in performance and payload, as well as greater reliability, outstanding fuel efficiency, and lower operations and sustainment costs. The U.S. Army and Marine Corps announced that more than 50,000 JLTVs would be produced for the U.S. military, and it is anticipated that the vehicle will draw interest from the international military vehicle marketplace as well.
“As a solider in the Army, I saw firsthand the critical support equipment like the JLTV provides to our troops,” Cotton said. "Arkansas’s strong support for our country’s servicemen and women could have no better tangible representation than producing the vehicles that our soldiers will drive on the front lines around the world.”
This is the second time Amendment 82 has been triggered since its adoption during the November 2004 general election. It allows the state legislature to approve up to 5 percent of the state’s general revenue budget to be used for bonding of competitive super economic development projects. The first time Amendment 82 was approved was for Big River Steel, currently under construction in Osceola, Arkansas.
Arkansas has a rich history in the defense industry. Aerospace/aviation is the state’s top export, making the defense industry – and Lockheed Martin – critical to Arkansas’s economy. Camden is home to several defense manufacturers. Lockheed Martin has been a member of the Camden business community for more than 35 years. Since that time, the company has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into the area. Since 2010, the company has donated more than $660,000 to local community partners and the company’s employees have volunteered almost 50,000 hours and donated almost $300,000 through payroll deductions supporting various communities in Southern Arkansas.