It appears the future of the 55th Wing at Offutt Air Force Base has been secured.
The United States Air Force has approved spending up to $55 million to upgrade the runway at Offutt Air Force Base, a key to keeping the 55th Wing in Nebraska, according to U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer.
“We all know the important of the 55th Wing,” Fischer tells Nebraska reporters during a conference call. “They have a good home at Offutt and I certainly will do my best to make sure they remain there.”
Worries surfaced about the future of the 55th Wing once the real state of the Offutt Air Force Base runway became known. A deteriorating runway didn’t bode well for the future of the 55th Wing’s mission in Nebraska, especially in light of the Air Force announcement that it had too much inventory and needed to find savings, likely through closing bases.
Though the Strategic Command, also located at Offutt, had undergone major renovation, questions remained about the future of the 55th.
Gov. Pete Ricketts says it’s important to keep the 55th here.
“Oh, we’re very pleased that now that it has been laid out officially how the Air Force is going to be replacing that runway and that we’ll have more years of service out of it,” Ricketts tells Nebraska Radio Network. “That’s of course critical to maintaining the mission of the 55th Wing and to looking at getting additional missions at Offutt. So, this is good news.”
The Unicameral made Offutt a priority in the legislative session this year, appropriating $14 million to upgrade the Missouri River levee protecting Offutt from floodwaters.
Design work should get underway this fall with construction to begin in 2018. It is estimate it will take nine months to complete repair of the Offutt AFB runway.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]