SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — An effort by Georgia’s congressional delegation to keep the Savannah Combat Readiness Training Center (CRTC) open is paying off.
Monday, a House subcommittee voted to keep operating funds for the CRTC in the new proposed federal budget.
“It is a good day for Georgia. As we had hoped and as we have worked so hard in a bipartisan fashion to achieve, the Appropriations Defense Subcommittee has put the money back in for the Combat Readiness Training Center here in Savannah,” said Representative Buddy Carter, a Republican who represents the 1st District.
Carter was among the first to sound the alarm back in late March when the proposed federal budget indicated that the CRCT would be closed by April of 2023.
In April, Carter visited the CRCT and said that a $24 million hangar project wasn’t even complete, and that the facility was an important part of the country’s preparedness.
Every F-22 pilot has been trained right here in the past two years,” Carter said that day.
Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock also indicated concerns and told WSAV in May that he was “concerned about the Administration’s budget the devastating impact of potentially closing this important asset.”
The decision from the House subcommittee is considered an important step in keeping the CRCT open but lawmakers say the fight is not over. The next move is the full committee approving the budget money for the facility and then a vote of approval of the House and U.S. Senate.
“We’re going to continue pushing to protect this Combat Readiness Training Center from closure,” said Senator Jon Ossoff. “This is a facility that is vital to U.S. national security, it is one of the preeminent tactical aviation training facilities in the world and it’s in Coastal Georgia.”
“I am helping to lead this bipartisan to protect this crucial training facility based at the Savannah Air National Guard Base,” Ossoff said.
Ossoff called the subcommittee decision a ‘good sign’ and said it’s something delegation has worked hard to get done but said it’s not the end of the effort.
Warnock indicated his continue support in a statement and said he wants to reaffirm his commitment to fighting the closure and that he will visit the Air Dominance Center and the Savannah CRTC on Friday.
Lawmakers say it’s still round one but the state has scored a win.
“I’ll be lobbying along with my colleagues in the delegation,” Carter said. “It’s a full court press, we’re not going to let our foot off the gas pedal at all.