Those of us that were raised near or reside near major military bases know that these mega-facilities truly become a part of the “weave” of the community. This is true particularly for Air Force Bases, as these institutions maintain billions of dollars-worth of aeronautical equipment, namely the aircraft. Even more valuable are the expert pilots, navigators and crews that ensure that these amazing aircraft arrive and depart safely, protecting the ground we stand on
These are things that are clearly apparent to those living in an Air Force community. What is not as common to learn is the substantial “fuel” for the local economy the base supplies. Those of us trained in economics commonly call this the “ripple effect” of base activities.
In July, Travis Air Force Base released its annual Economic Impact Analysis for the 2016 Fiscal Year. If you would normally call an economic impact a “ripple,” I think it is safe to say these are “waves.” During the last fiscal year, the base created over $1.6 billion in economic impact, including $945 million in payroll, total expenditures of over $455 million and an estimated value of jobs created of more than $250 million dollars.
Economic impact and especially the idea of multipliers are somewhat abstract to many not following economics. A good way to think of it is that as someone gets paid at the base, or the base spends money in the community on supplies, those dollars that are spent in the community help create additional jobs.
In the case of Travis, every job created creates just under half of a job somewhere else in the community. So for the 12,500 jobs on base, another 4,839 jobs are sustained in the community. In the case of our region, these jobs pay nearly $52,000 per year on average. So for those that say a job is a job, that’s not true in Fairfield . . . each job at Travis, is actually 1.5 jobs!
Another great sign is that the base continues to grow its impact. Payroll has increased by more than $196 million since 2014 and overall impact by $75.6 million. When you consider that the base will start seeing the first of 24 new Boeing KC-46 refueling aircraft in 2023, the future looks bright at the base.
And because of the importance of the base, the City continues to work with its Congressional representatives and neighboring communities to support the mission of the base. This involves both lobbying in Washington and Sacramento, as well as participation in base-focused planning efforts, as an example, the Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan, prepared by Solano County with input from local cities. These activities show that we are truly an Air Force town, and will continue to be.
In addition to the incredible service that our Air Force provides, we as residents, employees and visitors of Fairfield have many reasons to salute and support Travis Air Force Base. Their contribution to the regional economy makes a tremendous difference.
Economic Notes is an update from Fairfield City Hall written by Brian Miller and Robert Burris of the Fairfield Planning and Development Department. They can be contacted at 428-7461 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. or email@example.com.