Nelson reaffirms plans for Mayport carrier

(Department of Defense)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Sen. Bill Nelson is reaffirming the military's plans to bring a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to Naval Station Mayport.

It's now expected that a carrier will arrive in 2020 or possibly 2019.

Right now, the only East Coast carrier port is in Virginia.

Nelson says the policy to eventually bring a carrier here is "etched in stone."

Some of the projects to make Mayport nuclear-ready, such as dredging the harbor, have been completed, although others have been pushed back.

"The carrier, because of the cutbacks in the budget, including the sequester, has scared everybody so that they're afraid to spend dollars that they don't absolutely have to. But it is obviously the policy," Nelson said.

Nelson also says the secretary of the Navy, as recently as last Thursday, has reaffirmed the decision to put a carrier here.

He also says the Navy's decision to bring an amphibious ready group to Mayport in 2014 or 2015 will help the local ship repair industry.