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Airport grant pays for planned update
Pat Bowen
Commissioner Pat Bowen voted agains the grant. - photo by Courier file photo
All but one Liberty County commissioner agreed to accept federal grant for the MidCoast Regional Airport at their April 7 meeting.
Work needed for the nearly two-year-old airport at Wright Army Airfield comes to about $239,000 and the county received a $209,745 from the Federal Aviation Administration, officials estimated.
County Administrator Joey Brown said the money will pay for a runway extension feasibility study, preliminary engineering and an update on the airport layout plan.
The $5.5 million, joint-use, civilian-Army airport has two 5,000 foot runways, but Brown said only one of them is not usable because of a lack of overlay.
“So you’re saying we need more airport?” Commissioner Pat Bowen asked. “I’m just thinking all this planning and all this money that’s been spent there, somebody didn’t see this ahead of time?”
It could not be done all at once because of cost, according to Brown.
“We had to chew it off in small bites because it was such a large dollar amount,” Brown said.
The grant covers 95 percent of the costs and the match would obligate local partners to the remaining $30,700, which the county, Hinesville and the Liberty County Development Authority will split.
Brown explained the project is not to exceed $239,000 and engineers have to submit estimates to the Department of Transportation for approval.
“This positions us to qualify for the next shovel-ready, phase two stimulus funding,” Brown said.
And the hope is some of those funds will be exclusively designated for airports.
“But if not, [it] would free up money by DOT and FAA that can be used to do these types of projects by shifting some obligated money and using stimulus funds,” Brown said.
Commissioner Eddie Walden moved the accept the grant and local obligation.
“Let’s get the grant…it’s free,” Walden said.
Bowen voted no.
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