COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL)— Sept. 19, Congressman Sanford Bishop announced the Columbus Airport was awarded $3.1 million in federal grant money for two separate projects; funds already being used now.

“I am glad to see this continued investment in our regional airports. They are vital to local economies and crucial to supporting major national hubs, like Hartsfield Airport,” said Congressman Bishop in a prepared statement. “Our airports must constantly make repairs and improvements to keep up with Georgia as it grows, ensure air travelers’ safety, and help keep our supply chain running smoothly. Congress must continue to robustly fund the Airport Improvement Program so that the federal government remains a reliable partner for our local airports in the years ahead.”

The funds awarded through the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Airport improvement program (AIP).

“These grants are integral part to making sure that our airport continues to run safely,” Columbus Airport Director Amber Clark told WRBL. “It does allow us to complete the necessary construction projects that are needed here.”

$2,098,824 set aside to rehabilitate a taxiway, construction set for March of 2024.

(Pictured left Taxiway Foxtrot to undergo construction.)

The remaining $1,163,977 are already being used to fund a design project for the reconstruction of a runway, a project that only happens every few decades.

(Pictured right Runway 624, design project underway.)

“Whole reconstruction projects typically don’t happen very often. So, we’re looking at maybe 20, 30, 40 years that those things happen,” Clark said. “So, we’re due for our reconstruction project on our runway. But the rest we’ve maintained, and we’re just doing the mill and fills right now.”

While these grants keep the runways safe and open for travelers, it also impacts the local economy.  

“The Columbus Airport, your hometown airport, contributes a $97 million annual economic impact,” Clark shared. “So, it’s very important to make sure that this airport is operational, to support this community, its customers and its partners.”

Reconstruction of the runway estimated to begin in March of 2025, pending additional grant money.

“Each year we are entitled to $1 million and that is that is processed through the federal AIP, or Airport Improvement Program, but based on the pool of money, it is competitive against other airports,” Clark said. “It depends on what the airport’s needs are and how much is allocated in the budget… We’ll have to wait to see how much we’ll get for that one.”