Politics & Government

Political notebook: Trying to take flight

The manager of Middle Georgia Regional Airport, Doug Faour, told a state legislative transportation panel that “there’s more that happens at our airport than just commercial service.”

And let’s be grateful for that, because Faour’s own chart showed the stunning plunge in passenger traffic since a Delta Air Lines affiliate pulled out of the airport. In 2004, some 34,533 people got on a plane at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport. Just five years later, a mere 1,866 people got on board a plane there. That’s a decline of 94.5 percent. Last year, 1,966 people boarded commercial flights at the airport, preliminary federal statistics show.

To Faour’s point, there really is much more that happens at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport, with manufacturing by Boeing and major overhaul operations by Timco and Bombardier in the area. A state economic study credited the airport with supporting 1,925 jobs and having a total economic impact of nearly $200 million.

Some of those businesses would benefit from a longer runway at the airport, Faour said, by being able to bring in more airplanes for service that can’t land comfortably here now. Such a runway extension would have been partly funded by a regional transportation sales tax, which was defeated by voters. The state panel is trying to find out what to do, because such regional taxes were defeated in most places.

JONES HONORED BY UGA

State Sen. Burt Jones has been named to the “40 under 40 Class of 2014” by the University of Georgia Alumni Association. Jones, a 2040 graduate from Jackson, also is president of JP Capital & Insurance. A Republican, his district includes all or parts of Baldwin, Bibb, Butts, Jones and Putnam counties, as well as several others.

VOTER REGISTRATION DEADLINE LOOMS

You still have time -- until Oct. 6 -- to register to vote in the important November elections. Register in person through many government offices, including your county’s Board of Elections office; at tinyurl.com/voteingeorgia online; or through the “GA Votes” apps in the Android and Apple stores for your smart phone or tablet.

Writer Mike Stucka compiled this report.

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