Georgia's second major airport should be here, not up in Tennessee

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The city of Atlanta has begun the process of determining the best solution for relieving pressure on Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, which is already the world's busiest and is expected, despite a recent runway addition, to reach its capacity within the next 10 years.

ONE PROPOSAL that the study committee should reject immediately is the one reported recently, to expand the airport in Chattanooga, Tenn., to handle Hartsfield-Jackson's overflow and thus sending Georgia jobs, tax dollars and revenues across state lines. If going out of state was Atlanta's only option for a second commercial airport to serve the growing population of our state, it might be worth considering. But that is hardly the case.

For instance, Augusta Regional Airport is centrally located within easy access of several metropolitan areas, including Atlanta (150 miles), Macon (100 miles), Savannah (100 miles) and Columbia, S.C. (70 miles). There are 2.2 million people living within a 90-mile radius of Augusta Regional, with a median household income of $35,945. Within a 150-mile radius, the population is more than 10 million with a median household income of $42,812.

Augusta Regional would have to undergo far less expansion than the Tennessee facility to serve as a viable alternative to Hartsfield-Jackson. The commercial runway at Augusta Regional is 8,000 feet long, fully 600 feet longer than the Chattanooga runway. There are precision instrument landing system approaches to Runways 17 and 35 at the Augusta airport.

THERE ALREADY is a new terminal under construction at Augusta Regional, with excess capacity to accommodate several additional airlines. December 2007 is the expected completion date for the new terminal, which has been designed for easy expansion as needed.

The Augusta airport also is in an industrial area with very little residential development, providing room for future growth while avoiding potential noise complaints and issues.

Even supporters of the Tennessee airport expansion admit that high-speed rail would have to be constructed to connect Atlanta's northern suburbs to the Chattanooga facility for that proposal to work. It is important to note that a rail line already exists between Atlanta and Augusta.

The city of Atlanta was awarded a $1 million federal grant this year for the purpose of studying ways to increase capacity at Hartsfield-Jackson, with a strong suggestion by federal officials to explore options for a second commercial airfield. A special study committee is expected to be appointed in the near future.

As a member of the House Transportation Committee, I will be enlisting the support not only of my colleagues in the General Assembly but also Gov. Sonny Perdue, Mayor Deke Copenhaver, and local congressmen U.S. Reps. John Barrow (D-Savannah) and Paul Broun (R-Athens) to meet with Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, Hartsfield-Jackson Airport General Manager Ben DeCosta and members of the study committee as soon as possible.

HOPEFULLY, THEY will agree that the employment, taxation and other economic benefits of a second "major" airport for Georgia should stay here in Georgia - and that the most sensible and viable alternative is our own Augusta Regional Airport.

(The writer (D-Augusta) serves the 120th District in the Georgia House of Representatives.)

FIND OUT MORE

Read the article in Sunday's paper.

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ghughes51
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ghughes51 08/12/07 - 04:30 am
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Rep. Quincy Murphy, With due

Rep. Quincy Murphy,
With due respect to your efforts, why would Atlanta or the state of Georgia want to invent in a disfuntictional city such as Augusta. Politicians place individuals on governmental boards with no experience and then turn a blind eye when they act like children and imped the very agency they are susppose to represent. The column about the James Brown Civic Cnter/Bell Auditorium is a prime example. The expansion of MCG is blocked by the county comission because of the possible loss of votes from a rundown down housing development.

Why should Atlanta consider Augusta? We can't take care of our own problems and advance the city.

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 08/12/07 - 05:30 am
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Good points ghungest51. Not

Good points ghungest51. Not to mention that Augusta is over 150 miles from Atlanta. Most people fly to Hartsfield to get to Atlanta.

wsm141
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wsm141 08/12/07 - 06:57 am
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I drive to and from Atlanta

I drive to and from Atlanta once a month to fly back and forth to California. Augusta Regional is a joke! I can't tell you how many horror stories Ive heard about flights being cancelled out of the blue because there were'nt enough people on the flight. Not to mention the Augusta Commission how pathetic!!!

PFLY775
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PFLY775 08/12/07 - 08:18 am
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Maybe this is just the kick

Maybe this is just the kick in the pants that Augusta needs. People are willing to drive to Columbia. If we had a huge airport, then other business and industry would follow. We will, however, need people in local government who know how to run the show properly and with professionalism, wisdom, and sucessful business expertise.

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 08/12/07 - 10:05 am
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coalminer, did you reread

coalminer, did you reread your post? Your final sentence qualifies it as a wish.

bp101
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bp101 08/12/07 - 10:14 am
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Ha, that's a joke right. The

Ha, that's a joke right. The Augusta commission would probably shoot that down because it would bring too much traffic to our small minded city.

johnsmith
9
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johnsmith 08/12/07 - 11:00 am
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Good night...How do you

Good night...How do you figure that Augusta is an easy drive from Macon or Savannah? It takes HOURS... We need to do just the opposite: forget Augusta's joke of a "build it and they will come" terminal and build high-speed rail to Atlanta. You want to stimulate Augusta's economy? All of Georgia's economy? How about 45 minutes from downtown Augusta to a MARTA station in ATL? How about flying in and out of ATL with no 3-hour drive...heading to ATL for a weekend of shopping w/out worrying about parking, driving, etc....how about people working in ATL and living in AUG, paying our housing costs while living on that city's salaries? Enough of the mayoral p***ing contest about who has the nicest airport. We've committed to Young's Folly out at Bush Field, so the $ are already spent, but don't put another dime into trying to improve air service. If there are many passengers, airlines will provide service. If there are not, all the $ in the world won't make it happen... Focus on something that would make a demonstrable difference...how about the Southeast's first TGV?

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 08/12/07 - 11:27 am
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TVG, isn't that a French

TVG, isn't that a French train. Have merci! The high speed train from Atlanta to all major cities in the state and efficient bus routes to tie it to every town would be the trick. I believe Cain addressed this last week. It's a great idea if we could get the state government to remember there's more then one city in Georgia and if the obvious time savings could ever be explained to the rest of the state.The savings on road maintenance and building new roads would be huge. This is starting to sound like another wish list.

girlygirl
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girlygirl 08/12/07 - 11:43 am
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Whoo-hoo! Trains everywhere,

Whoo-hoo! Trains everywhere, I'm for it! I still can't believe there's not a decent interstate directly connecting the second and third largest cities in Georgia (Augusta and Savannah). I know there are plans for it (called I-3), but they've been shelved. ....If the Augusta Regional "Airport" wants more business, here's what they need to do:
1) fix the aircon. It was nearly 80 inside when I flew to ATL (then MSP) two weeks ago.
2) have a cafe and bar that's OPEN and sells real food. During the aircon break, the lone terminal "cafe" was closed for well over an hour from 3:15-4:15 pm on a Friday--prime flying hours for businesspeople.
3) finish the gosh-darned construction already. In California, contractors are fined for each DAY they are late in completing construction for state-funded projects.
...and whatever they do, nobody's going to fly all the way to Augusta to get to Atlanta, unless we've got some really cool stuff for them to do here!

SugarFoot
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SugarFoot 08/12/07 - 11:47 am
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Augusta's airport centrally

Augusta's airport centrally located??? Are you kidding?? How about exanding Macon's airport to handle traffic from Atlanta? It's only about an hour from Atlanta. Macon is centrally located. Augusta is more than two and half hours from Atlanta and served by only one east-west interstate.
But considering that the bulk of growth in Georgia is occurring in the suburbs and exurbs north of Atlanta it would stand to reason that a new airport should be located there. Hall, Forsythe, or Bartow counties would be likely locations. Augusta is simply too far away to handle the air traffic for metro Atlanta.

Pay What U Owe
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Pay What U Owe 08/12/07 - 12:28 pm
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FYI, The DOT has development

FYI, The DOT has development plans at the national level. You can see a map at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:High-Speed_Rail_Corridor_Designations...
You may notice that Augusta is elegantly bypassed. There is probably a reason for that.

SugarFoot
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SugarFoot 08/12/07 - 02:41 pm
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Augusta could never sustain a

Augusta could never sustain a major hub airport.. and it is too far to pull people from Atlanta. Likely a second major airport will be built somewhere in metro Atlanta within 20 years. Most large metropolitan areas have more than one major airport. Building a hub airport in Augusta to service passengers leaving and coming to Atlanta would be New York City building another airport in New Hampshire.

jack
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jack 08/12/07 - 02:44 pm
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Until Augusts changes it's

Until Augusts changes it's dysfunctional form of government/clowns, you can forget about exspanding Bush Field or most anything else in A/RC. Even the Governor has cut money intended for Augusta because of the sheer waste by your local government. HOw many years has the state promised a highway from Columbus to Augusta and from Augusta to Savannah?

Pay What U Owe
5
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Pay What U Owe 08/12/07 - 03:30 pm
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Actually, I was thinking of

Actually, I was thinking of teh Savannah thing when they announced this "$600M surplus"(FTR, I think that surplus is a hallucination since it's only 3% of the total budget and I am unconvinced state auditors can see that well). One of the annoying things about the candystore republicans is thir enthusiasm to "give us money back". IIRC correctly, it costs about $6-8M/mile for insterstate. There is ~80 miles from BobbyJones 10 to I-16 at Statesboro. If you could find a contarctor that would get their [filtered word] in gear, we could just use the money for that. *Invest* it. Don't give every body in the state $60 that they will never see what happens to it.

SugarFoot
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SugarFoot 08/12/07 - 03:53 pm
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The problem with the Savannah

The problem with the Savannah River Parkway and Fall Line Freeway is that they were lumped into the Governor's Road Improvement Program (GRIP) under the Joe Frank Harris administration back in the 80s. GRIP was really nothing more than a giant pork barrel spending project spearheaded by rural legislators. The program essentially four laned existing highways into "developmenta highways." The problem with the program.. which is noticeable when you drive on many of these "developmental highways" is that there isn't a lot of traffic on them.. because many of them go through nothing but small towns. HIgher priority projects like the Savannah River Parkway and Fall line freeway got lost in the funding mix. And despite the name.. these were not designed as true freeways.. but simply 4 lane highways. What Augusta leaders like Quincy Murphy needs to do is get behind the proposed I 3 and I 14 interstates, instead of pie in the sky ideas like a major hub airport in Augusta.

Pay What U Owe
5
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Pay What U Owe 08/12/07 - 04:03 pm
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But I-3 requires the feds. We

But I-3 requires the feds. We can extend to Bobby Jones to I-16 outside Savannah ourselves at no costs whatsoever from the feds. The feds don't have any money as they are more interested in building roads in Iraq for insurgents to blow up rather building roads in Georgia for taxpayers to drive on.

Why
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Why 08/12/07 - 05:51 pm
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Macon is the logical

Macon is the logical location- centrally located in the state...rail service alon I-75 could be developed and a long needed interstate could link Macon to both Columbus and Augusta. Although any reasonable thinking person would agree - leave it to our leaders to send the airport and jobs to another state!

Why
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Why 08/12/07 - 08:38 pm
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Pay What You Owe: Your

Pay What You Owe: Your comments about Iraq are absurd. If we do not defeat Islamic militants over there they will be here in the USA blowing up our highways and bridges! I suspect you voted for Kerry!

Pay What U Owe
5
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Pay What U Owe 08/12/07 - 09:27 pm
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I did! I confess! Can you

I did! I confess! Can you quit monitoring my e-mail now? My cell phone? and let me off the no-fly list?

bigalsc
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bigalsc 08/13/07 - 12:51 am
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Look at these negative ninny

Look at these negative ninny posts. You make me sick.

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