As previously reported, expansion of the Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) presents significant opportunities for construction contractors. In addition, the Tacoma News Tribune reports that the Army is adding a new helicopter and combat aviation brigade to JBLM. The brigade adds 1400 troopers and 44 helicopters to the Base, bringing the total population of soldiers at JBLM to 45,000 (eight years ago, Fort Lewis had only 19,000 active soldiers). Washington Congressman Adam Smith, ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, is quoted as saying:
“As the largest employer in Pierce County, Joint Base Lewis-McChord is a key economic engine for the South Sound. The stationing of this aviation unit will be another gain for business that serve the region, providing new opportunities for civilian job growth, as well as additional military personnel.”
To accommodate the increase the JBLM will have to make significant investments in construction. The increased personnel and construction will bring with it added traffic congestion and longer commutes to the frustration of the community and soldiers.