Valdosta Regional Airport Left Out of "One Georgia" Funds

The “One Georgia” program has denied Valdosta Regional Airport’s request for money to expand the runway.

The runway at Valdosta Regional Airport will not be extended anytime soon now that administrators with the One Georgia grant have declined to supply the necessary funds.

Without the expansion, the airport can't lure large scale shipping companies that use big jets. That's a problem for local business recruiters.

Myrna Ballard, president of the Valdosta Chamber of Commerce, says, "We do see it as a minor set back for some of the economic development efforts tied so closely to transportation, so until we get the project done that will put some recruitment efforts on hold.

Leaders here at the Valdosta Airport are obviously disappointed with the decision because they will not be able to expand the runway as soon as they had hoped, but they say they are treating the news as a set back, rather than a full fledge end to their expansion plans.

Clarence Parker, Airport Chairman, says, "I really believe that big projects like this, you'll run into some difficulty, and you have to reassess and decide where is the best way to go. Problems like this are just opportunities."

The airport director is not the only one determined to make the runway extension possible.

Ballard adds, "It’s too important to Moody AFB, to important to our overall economic development efforts to simply go down without a fight."

The Valdosta community will keep fighting for the runway extension until it’s a reality and new opportunities can land at in the azalea city. The Valdosta Airport Authority is set to meet Wednesday to discuss what options are now available.