Hill Air Force Base Wednesday was awarded $65 million worth of work to maintain C-130 military cargo planes.

That work doesn't come from other air bases that are closing. Instead, it's from private contractors that the Air Force determined had not performed well, said Bill Johnson, legislative director for Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah.Utah's members of Congress said that determination is ironic because the Clinton administration has claimed it could save money and improve performance by turning over more such work to private businesses - including work from two soon-to-close air bases, which Hill is also seeking.

"This is a good, small step forward," said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. "I am disappointed that the dedicated workers at Hill have to continuously struggle to get what they have already earned."

Hansen said the new work should bring 70 aircraft to Hill over the next four years. He said it should allow Hill to keep 185 employees previously targeted for reductions in force, and to possibly hire 15 to 25 new workers.

Hansen also said the decision should help show that "a cost-efficient depot system to support our war fighters is too important to risk for the president's personal politics."