"Tanker Job Counter" Will Track Bidders' Claims

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A new "Tanker Job Counter" will tally and analyze Boeing and Airbus claims concerning the number and location of American jobs they would create if awarded a $40 billion Air Force contract, The Forerunner Foundation announced today.

A new "Tanker Job Counter" will tally and analyze Boeing and Airbus claims concerning the number and location of American jobs they would create if awarded a $40 billion Air Force contract, The Forerunner Foundation announced today.

The Washington, DC, policy organization said the rematch between archrival aircraft makers will hit a fever pitch this summer on two fronts, technical requirements and jobs.

"The Air Force was adamant in 2008 that the Airbus tanker better met the needs of American war-fighters, but Boeing made it appear that all the Airbus jobs would be in France," noted Forerunner Managing Director Jerry W. Cox, former procurement policy counsel in the U.S. Senate. "The resulting Buy American uproar, not technical violations of federal procurement law, killed the Airbus contract."

"Once again, it will all come down to jobs, jobs, jobs and location, location, location," Cox predicted. "If the 2010 bids look anything like the 2008 bids, the near-opposite geographic distribution of tanker-related jobs will set the stage for a perfect political storm, pitting politicians from the Pacific Northwest and Great Plains against those who represent the South and the industrial heartland."

Months before Boeing's bid is due, a series of company news releases began promising jobs in specific parts of the country. Last week, Boeing projected 7,500 more jobs in Kansas and 690 in Ohio. The Airbus team in 2008 estimated that its contract would have brought the Buckeye State 2,300 jobs, but EADS North America, the Airbus corporate parent and new team leader, has not yet indicated what Ohio or other Great Lakes states can expect under its 2010 proposal. The company has, however, reaffirmed its plans to construct a new final assembly line for tankers and other aircraft in Mobile, AL, where it would employ more than 1,000.

Cox said Forerunner collected detailed jobs data when it began its Aerial Refueling Modernization Project in 2008 and will post each bidder's 2010 projections side-by-side on the non-profit group's website.

"We will compare the new numbers and types of both direct and indirect jobs and point out any exaggerations or discrepancies," Cox added. "This will be the public's reality check on the competing claims."

Established in 2005, The Forerunner Foundation is an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to forward-thinking public policy. Commentaries and other concise materials related to transportation safety, security and modernization have appeared in several influential magazines, including Forbes, Aviation Week & Space Technology and Railway Age and in the Washington (DC) Times, the Seattle (WA) Post-Intelligencer, the Columbus (OH) Dispatch and the Mobile (AL) Press-Register.

Cox, a Forerunner co-founder, was legislative counsel to U.S. Senator John C. Danforth (R-MO), who chaired committees with jurisdiction over aviation and federal procurement policy.

RELATED LINKS:
(Forerunner's Aerial Refueling Modernization Project) http://www.forerunnerfoundation.org/hot-topics-modernization_armp.html

(Columbus Dispatch Op-ed) http://www.dispatchpolitics.com/live/content/editorials/stories/2008/09/16/cox16.ART_ART_09-16-08_A11_SOBB6EM.html?sid=101

Contact: Jerry W. Cox, 703-757-5866
jerry.w.cox (at) forerunnerfoundation (dot) org

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