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Funds to Aid Push for Aerospace Jobs

November 29, 2000|CAROL CHAMBERS

Hoping to bring back aerospace jobs lost to downsizing of the defense industry, Lancaster leaders plan to use $150,000 in state matching funds for road construction and other infrastructure improvements in the Fox Field industrial corridor.

The grant is part of $1.5 million the state allocated this week to help communities hurt by defense cutbacks and closures of military bases meet requirements for federal economic development grants.

Byron Tucker, a spokesman for Gov. Gray Davis, said Lancaster's grant is tied to the reduction in the Antelope Valley's aerospace work force at Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, Northrop and U.S. Air Force Plant 42, where the B-2 bomber was produced.

"When they cut back and stopped production of the B-2, a lot of jobs were lost," Lancaster spokeswoman Anne Aldrich said. "We're thrilled and excited to be receiving this."

Infrastructure improvements to storm drains, waterlines and roads in the Fox Field corridor are part of a $9-million project that Lancaster officials hope will attract more aerospace-industry employers to the region, she said.

In addition to the state allocation and federal grants, Lancaster will receive $4.5 million from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority as well as local funding for the Fox Field project. Federal grant awards will not be decided for another few months, Aldrich said.

In all, the state awarded grants to 14 communities and local agencies. Five are in Southern California--Lancaster, San Bernardino International Airport Authority, Southern California Logistics Airport Authority near Victorville, Southwestern College Foundation in San Diego and Gateway Cities Council of Governments in Downey.

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