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Groundbreaking For Navy Yard Project Draws Warning

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(Sen. Arlen Specter, back to camera, listens as Mayor Nutter addresses the group.  Photo by Pat Loeb)

(Sen. Arlen Specter, back to camera, listens as Mayor Nutter addresses the group. Photo by Pat Loeb)

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SOUTH PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Despite the bright sunshine, a dark cloud hung over today’s ceremonial groundbreaking for a new building at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.  The project is partially funded with federal stimulus money, but officials are warning that funding for other similar projects is in jeopardy.

Mayor Michael Nutter says the new Navy Yard Commerce Center is the just the kind of job creation the stimulus bill was meant to encourage.

“This project will create 100 construction jobs, so let’s recognize Liberty for that (applause).”

But outgoing US senator Arlen Specter warned that Republicans in Congress are threatening such recovery projects.

“We are facing today a real crisis, and it’s going to hit cities like Philadelphia the hardest,” he told the dozens of invitees.

Specter noted that a stone’s throw away from the groundbreaking, the Aker shipyard is in danger of shutting down and laying off 1,200 people because the Republican-controlled US House is holding up needed funding.

“So I’d say we’ve got a hell of a fight on our hands, but one we can win if we identify our friends, show the importance of the funding, and go after it.”

Specter promised to stay in the fight even though he’ll be leaving office.

Reported by Pat Loeb, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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