Robins priorities outlined to local officials

A proposed east gate into Robins Air Force Base and keeping new elected officials up to date on Robins work are key issues for the base, members of the Middle Georgia Regional Commission were told Thursday night.

An east gate located near the Ocmulgee River is a chief priority, said retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Rick Goddard, who made a presentation for the 21st Century Partnership.

“With new warehouses for the Defense Logistics Agency (work), that means there will be a lot more trucks with loads of parts coming into Robins,” Goddard told a room of about 50 community leaders. “We can manage that flow in and out to a degree, but still we have a lot more trucks that need access via the east side of Robins.”

Goddard pointed out Robins has plans to build a power generator plant that uses wood chips and other materials to generate electricity “and that will require more delivery. Bottom line there is a need for a new east entry point.”

The 21st Century Partnership is working with local leaders to design and build access roads to a new gate, Goddard said.

Several areas have been discussed during the past year, with a location at the south end of the base near Ga. 96 being an option. Another option would funnel access to a midpoint in the base with a bridge across the Ocmulgee connecting to roads in Twiggs County.

Goddard said the partnership was working with newly elected leaders, including Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., and Gov. Nathan Deal, as well as other officials to keep them up to date on Robins’ needs and problems.

Work at the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, as well as other Air Force depots, come under Congressional mandates, Goddard said. It’s known as a 50-50 split, Goddard said, meaning the aircraft work is divided between aerospace industry and the Air Force. Goddard said the Air Force has not definitively established what depot work is actually the flying service’s responsibility. As such, industry is lobbying for more.

“We have to be mindful of that. They want this work as much as we do, and we have to define what we do and do it well,” Goddard said.

In other business, community leaders were told that a road project list was being formed by the Georgia Department of Transportation and forms were sent to mayors and other community leaders from the regional commission.

A due date of March 30 has been set to return the forms, which should be used to list priority road projects, said Laura Mathis, a commission member.

“If you need help filling out the forms or choosing and prioritizing road projects, then we are here to do that for you,” Mathis said.

To contact writer Shelby G. Spires, call 744-4494.