Rep. Paul Trible (R-Va.) won another round yesterday in his battle to force the Navy to renovate the aircraft carrier Saratoga in Newport News instead of Philadelphia.
A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting in Alexandria, ruled that the massive overhaul project cannot begin before May 24.
The action will give Trible time to try to convince Congress that it should order that the work be done by the privately owned Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., in his congressional district, rather than at the Philadelphia Navy Shipyard.
Trible, who argued the case himself, is counting on Congress to order the Navy to switch the contract because a study by the General Acounting Office last year found that the work could be performed in Virginia for about $100 million less than at the government-operated Philadelphia installation.
The first step toward congressional action came last month when the Senate Armed Services Committee voted to require the work done on a least-cost basis.
Trible has contended that the Defense Department awarded the $500-million-plus contract to the Philadelphia shipyard as a consolation prize to the area after President Carter failed to deliver on a campaign promise to keep open Philadelphia's Frankford Arsenal.
The overhaul of the Saratoga will provide 2,600 jobs for 28 months to the winning shipyard, and is expected to be followed by similar contracts to rehabilitate four to eight more carriers.