Tuscaloosa looking at acquiring 100 acres for airport expansion
By WVUA 23 News Reporter Anneliese Taggart
The Tuscaloosa City Council gave the OK Tuesday for Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox to buy about 100 acres of land next to the Tuscaloosa National Airport.
Expanding the airport is a major priority for Maddox, who’s been pushing toward getting commercial service back in Tuscaloosa, said getting this land is the next step.
“It’s historic because it gives us an opportunity to extend our runway, which we’ve never had before,” said Maddox. “You need the additional land to make it happen and the additional right of way for it. This secures that. We’ve had a great partnership with the owner of the property, so this is an opportunity to take a big step forward.”
Now, the city will begin applying for grants that could cover as much as 95% of the overall cost of the project.
“For economic development and cargo needs, it was a project that we wanted to go ahead and have available through our (Federal Aviation Administration) grants,” said Tuscaloosa National Airport Manager Jeff Powell. “The construction of the runway would be through a grant program, the property acquisition just allows us to have that foundation to go ahead and start the project.”
There’s a lot that must happen before the airport can entice a commercial airline service back to Tuscaloosa, but Maddox said the terminal and runway are the biggest necessary upgrades.