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Airport commission approves terminal funding

Photo by J.D. Sumner

Photo by J.D. Sumner

ALBANY, Ga. -- Members of the Albany-Dougherty County Aviation Commission unanimously approved a request from Airport Director Yvette Aehle Monday night to accept a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to fund both apron improvements and construction of the new terminal at Southwest Georgia Regional Airport.

The request will must gain final approval from the Albany City Commission before heading to Washington.

Monday's vote comes as the latest event in a hectic series of weeks for Aehle, who told commissioners Monday that she received notice from the FAA Sept. 7 that an unexpected round of residual funding had become available and that if the city was willing to fork over the local match, the FAA could boost the amount of money it was willing to put into the terminal project.

Last week, the FAA adjusted its prediction on funding upward yet again, saying that $5.4 million would likely be available for the project. As of Monday, however, that number could move up substantially before the Sept. 30 deadline.

The only drawback to the increase in federal dollars is that as the pot grows on the federal end, so grows the local match which would be, according to Aehle, around $1.5 million if the $5.4 million figure ended up being the final number.

Today, Aehle will present possible funding options for the additional local match amounts including special local option sales tax or funding from the allotment of funds the city receives from the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia Trust commonly referred to as MEAG funds.

Additionally, the airport commission voted to accept a grant offer from the Georgia Department of Transportation for the apron improvement for almost $47,000 and a $274,000 contract -- which has a $6,000 local share -- for the LPA Group, Inc., to oversee the construction project work for the upcoming airport projects.

Aehle told the commission that if the city commission approves the grant funding requests in a timely manner, that construction could start as early as December.