Thursday, July 24 2014 11:27 PM EDT2014-07-25 03:27:40 GMT
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VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -
Valdosta Regional Airport is getting a new state of the art fire station. As work begins on the $3 million project, airport officials hope to get money Lowndes County committed to pay for another major improvement.
Of the 104 airports in Georgia, the Valdosta Airport is one of only nine that flies commercial airlines. To keep this 1970's airport competing, a new state of the art fire station was needed.
"Not only is it going to enhance safety for the traveling public but its also going to set the architectural standard for this side of the air field," said Jim Galloway, Valdosta Airport Executive Director.
The funding for the $3 million project mostly came from the Federal Aviation Administration. There's another airport project the county committed to help fund using SPLOST revenue, but airport officials haven't seen any cash.
"People aren't buying and SPLOST comes from sales tax and of course you know what the economy's been like for the past four years," said Lowndes Co. Commission Chairman, Ashley Paulk.
The county projected SPLOST VI would generate $180 million but its only reached $150 million so far. County leaders promised $900,000 for a $2.2 million hanger project in 2010, but they've only delivered $750,000. The airport got a loan from the City of Valdosta to pay off the project.
"If the money were to pick up we would give them their allotted share, but if the money's not there, it's not there," said Paulk.
Galloway says he's hopeful the county will pay the remaining balance since SPLOST VI doesn't end until the end of 2013. For now he's just focused on the new fire station.
In two weeks construction will begin and in 15 months they'll have a brand new Aircraft Rescue Firefighting station.
Galloway says the next improvement he wants to add is a passenger boarding bridge.
Right now, there are three flights a day from the Valdosta Airport to Atlanta.