Albany receives federal funds - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany receives federal funds

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November 22, 2004

Albany-- Congress appropriates $250 million dollars for Georgia projects, and some of that money will flow into south Georgia. Bringing business and people to Albany heavily depends on the strength of the local airport. "Any improvements that we can make to make other carriers or tenants interested in coming to Albany will help us a lot," said Airport Director Yvette Aehle.

Aehle says bringing in larger planes and more carriers requires a longer runway. "8,000 feet is the magic number." A runway extension would cost from $10 million to $20 million.

Now, Albany is one step closer to paying that hefty cost. Congress approved a spending bill that appropriates $2 million for the airport project. "It could mean any kind of airplane, except for a 747, could come in and use this airport," says Aehle.

The airport plans to use the money to complete the study, design, and engineering of the runway. This prep work will put the airport in line for Federal Aviation Administration dollars. "Those airports that have projects on the shelf that are designed, engineered, and ready to go, the FAA will earmark money for those projects."

The runway extension is just on projects Congress earmarked for federal funding. The spending bill also appropriates $900,000 to improve storm drainage in Albany. "In some areas, we still have the combined sanitary and storm drainage in place. This will help us separate those to get some of the water off our streets in locations across the community,” said City Manager Janice Allen Jackson.

Another flood control project, a $250,000 geological study on a possible levee on the Flint River is also on the appropriations list. The City Manager says the city is reaping the rewards of hiring lobbyists to fight for us on Capital Hill.

"We only spent about $100,000 that. You know you're getting several million back, so that says we've had a substantial benefit from it," said Jackson. This was the first year Albany has hired a federal lobbyist.

The appropriations bill also includes $150,000 for renovations of the historic Albany Theater downtown.

posted at 6:05PM by dave.miller@walb.com