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Article Last Updated: 2/05/2006 07:59 AM
Travis consortium being reduced
By Jason Massad/Staff Writer
With a federal round of base closures gladly in the past for Travis Air Force Base, a Capitol Hill lobbying consortium assembled to fight for the base is being trimmed down.
The Travis Community Consortium coalesced in 2003. Led by Washington D.C.-based Madison Government Affairs, the consortium was an expansion of the city of Fairfield's lobbying efforts to protect the base.
Included in the consortium as paying members were all of the seven cities in Solano County, the Solano Economic Development Corp., county government, Solano Community College, the Travis Regional Armed Forces Committee and the Travis Unified School District.
With a robust $135,000 budget, the consortium hired a local liaison as a conduit to local leaders and federal officials and for the Madison group to step up its lobbying efforts in Washington.
Now, as Travis Air Force Base breathes a collective sigh of relief after being spared from closure, local leaders have decided to disband the expanded consortium.
Vacaville Mayor Len Augustine said the consortium has served its purpose. The model, however, could be used in the future when the Travis faces tough challenges.
"(The city of Vacaville) is not going away. We will continue to be a very strong advocate for the base," he said. "When there's heavy lifting, ask us and we will participate."
The restricted membership of the consortium will include as paying members the city of Fairfield, Solano County, Solano EDC, Solano Community College and the Travis Regional Armed Forces Committee.
City managers from around the county met several months ago to discuss a trimmed down consortium.
The concept when forming the group was to disband the expanded participation after the base closure round was over, said Warren Salmons, Dixon's city manager.
The consortium served its useful purpose, he said. Not only did the cities and other agencies fund the consortium, the consortium represented a united community front in protecting the base.
"That milestone has passed and the base closure folks did not see fit to put it on the closure list," he said. "That's a good thing."
The smaller, restructured consortium will operate on a $64,000 budget this year.
That will be enough to pay for continued lobbying efforts in Washington and visits to top military officials at bases like Scott Air Force Base, Ill., part of Air Mobility Command at Travis Air Force Base.
Local leaders acknowledge that even after the most current round of military base closures Travis needs to continue to gain new missions and improve housing around the base.
In the coming year, many of the houses on Travis will be demolished and the existing houses will be managed by a private contractor. Meanwhile, a new mission, and the C-17 air transport, will soon arrive at the base.
Jason Massad can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, February 05, 2006
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