Congress Gives State 300 Million Reasons to Prep Projects

Wed December 08, 2004 - Southeast Edition

ATLANTA (AP) Congress has concluded work on a 2005 spending bill, and the news is good for Georgia, which is poised to receive about $300 million for local projects.

A large chunk of that is going to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, which will get $250 million for building improvements in Atlanta, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), said.

Middle Georgia is getting more than $7.5 million for local projects, including $1 million for a new headquarters for the Macon-Bibb County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Congress approved the spending bill Nov. 20. Republicans whisked the $388 billion spending bill through in a single day, a mammoth measure that underscores the dominance of deficit politics by curbing dollars for everything from education to environmental cleanups.

The House approved the measure by a bipartisan 344-51 margin, while Senate passage was by 65-30. Passage crowned the lame-duck session of Congress.

Several Georgia congressman claimed victory from the spending bill.

Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Macon), personally called the president of the conventions bureau to tell her the news about the spending bill. The Convention & Visitors Bureau plans to renovate a historic bus station in Macon for its new headquarters.

“We’ve just needed this to make the project work,” said bureau president Janice Marshall, no relation to the congressman.

Macon will also get $2.3 million to fund improvements at Macon Downtown Airport, adding a landing system to allow corporate jets easier access.

Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce President Chip Cherry said the airport improvements may help lure a new industry to the old Brown and Williamson plant.

“A lot of companies looking these days are coming in on corporate aircraft,” Cherry said. “And a lot of companies out in the Ocmulgee East Industrial Park also have access to corporate aircraft.”

Further south in Eastman, a million dollars is coming to aid construction of a cross wind runway at its airport.

Other Georgia awards included:

• $1.5 million for the bio-refinery and hydrogen fuel cell research at the University of Georgia

• $920,000 for the Tubman African American Museum’s new building under construction in Macon

• $250,000 for Robins Air Force Base, the Museum of Aviation Institute of Museum and Library Services

• $100,000 for Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville for the Coverdell Archives in honor of the late Georgia senator

• $250,000 for the city of Albany for the study of lock and dam flood control

• $250,000 for Mercer University to improve personnel development

• $100,000 for Wesleyan College’s Willet Library

Republican Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah also announced that Valdosta State University will receive $400,000 to fund the design of its proposed Health Sciences center.