NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - While the battle over the budget continues in Washington, there is some good news to report for Hampton Roads.
Work to prepare the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln for refueling and overhaul can begin. The overhaul was delayed because Congress has yet to pass a 2013 budget.
Many shipyard workers and sailors from the Lincoln have been wondering when the work on the aircraft carrier will start. The Department of Defense said the initial work can happen because of $40 million that was budgeted for Huntington Ingalls Industries, Newport News Shipbuilding's parent company. The $40 million contract was awarded to Huntington Ingalls on Wednesday.
The overhaul was supposed to begin in Newport News on Feb. 14. The full overhaul is still delayed, but, now preparations can start. The Department of Defense said the contract keeps work on schedule and allows people to keep working.
WAVY.com was in Newport News for the President's visit on Tuesday and asked shipyard workers about waiting for the Lincoln.
"We're at the hands and the mercy of them up there in Washington, and they've got to do - the ball's in their court," shipyard worker Beth Tilton said. "It's been in their court and they just have to get the ball rolling again."
The Defense Department said the delay means the current work will happen at Naval Station Norfolk where the Lincoln is now.
"Only congress can fix this now. We need this fixed! We need it fixed for our national security. We need it fixed for the jobs and the people that are represented here in the Hampton Roads area but also all across Virginia and all across the United States," Secretary of the Navy Ray Maybus said.
The work is scheduled to be done in April.
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