Closing Fort Monmouth: Costs double from $780 million to $1.5 billion (Asbury Park Press)
The cost of closing Fort Monmouth has ballooned from $780 million to nearly $1.5 billion in the two years since a federal commission voted to shutter the 90-year-old Army post, according to the Army's fiscal year 2008 budget request.
The rise in cost is driven by a 571 percent jump in the price of moving the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School to West Point, N.Y., and an 85 percent increase in the price of military construction at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, according to Army budget figures.
The nine-member federal Base Realignment and Closure commission voted in August 2005 to close the fort and transfer most of its research mission to Aberdeen by 2011.
The Pentagon blames the cost increases on factors such as inflation and changes requested by the Army, but two former members of the BRAC commission said the panel members may not have voted to close the fort had they known how much it was really going to cost.
"I think it would have changed the commission's vote," said former BRAC commissioner Philip Coyle, who voted against the proposal to close Fort Monmouth. "People would have said, "What is the point?' "
Would knowing the true cost have changed the closing of the base? I doubt it. Fort Monmouth has been on the chopping block so many times that the ax was bound to fall. Maybe it would have delayed it until the next round- maybe.