More than 15 years has passed since the members of the Northeast Georgia Surface and Air Transportation Commission held a business meeting to discuss the promise of building a regional airport in Northeast Georgia.
The first order of business for the commission’s surviving members at a Thursday reunion was to convince Northeast Georgia counties and cities that a mid-size airport north of Interstate 20 and east of Interstate 85 isn’t impossible.
“It’s not a given that the Northeast Georgia area will provide (this) service,” said former state representative Bubba McDonald, who more recently served on the state Public Service Commission. “But with what I know about the people gathered in this room, I wouldn’t bet against you.”
A dozen of the commission’s members invited about 30 government and civic leaders from Jackson, Barrow, Oconee, Gwinnett and Athens-Clarke counties to the Classic Center, fed them barbecue and gave a combination history lesson and pep talk, laying out the original commission’s accomplishments and how to revive the body.
The air transportation commission was created by the legislature in 1989 to find possible sites for a second airport to serve metro Atlanta, but stopped meeting in 1992.
The effort to revive the commission started after Delta Air Lines emerged from bankruptcy and Atlanta received a $1 million federal grant to study an overflow airport for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, one of the busiest in the country.
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