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MidCoast moves forward with runway extension
Local partners look to other revenue sources after SPLOST failure

The Local Joint Management Board of the MidCoast Regional Airport met Thursday to discuss plans for the runway-extension project, among other business.

The JMB was awarded a grant for the project from the Georgia Department of Transportation totaling roughly $5 million. However, the grant required a match from the JMB of “somewhere between $1.3 and $1.6 million,” according to Liberty County Administrator Joey Brown.

The three funding partners of the JMB — Liberty County, the city of Hinesville and the Liberty County Development Authority — were depending on revenue from the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax to fund their respective matches.

In light of SPLOST’s failure at the polls last Tuesday, the partners are looking to other revenue sources and planning to move forward with the project.

Brown said that one possibility is to restructure the original airport bonds, which have a current balance of approximately $4.1 million. He also mentioned the possibility of a short-term loan.

Some confusion arose over the project’s timeline.

After Brown stated that the project was on a “very, very, very tight timeline” of meeting the GDOT schedule to have a contract let for bid by May 1, state Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway, expressed concern that the $5 million appropriated to GDOT and promised to the JMB would roll back into the state’s general fund if they weren’t expended by the end of 2014.

“There’s no way we can turn dirt by Jan. 1,” Brown said.

However, Brown explained that funds were being expended toward the project, in the form of planning and design work. Williams then clarified that as long as steps were being taken toward completing the project, the grant money would be secure.

In other business, the board approved a bid to restripe the airport’s civilian apron. Although thermoplastic paint originally was recommended for the project, Keith Causeway, an engineer with T.R. Engineering, advised via memo that thermoplastic paint may not be the best option.

In addition to being almost twice as expensive as other paint options, Causeway said that thermoplastic paint does not always expand and contract at the same rate as asphalt, which can lead to cracks in the paint.

Causeway recommended using a TP-1 glass-bead paint, which he said is frequently used on roadway projects.

The board awarded a bid in the amount of $10,795 to Southeast Centerline Inc.

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