An amendment House lawmakers added to the fiscal 2017 defense authorization bill last week would help alleviate the Navy’s security concerns arising from a general aviation airport located less than two miles from Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga.
The amendment, sponsored by Buddy Carter (R-Ga.), authorizes DOD to spend $6 million to free the city of St. Marys from financial obligations to the Federal Aviation Administration for past improvements at St. Marys Airport. The money would go to the state Department of Transportation to pay for building a general aviation airport at another location.
Relocating the airport would end 15 years of debate about the airport’s future, reported Brunswick News. In the past, parachutists have landed inadvertently inside the sub base’s fence line and several airplanes have made emergency landings near Kings Bay, located on Georgia’s southern coast.
“I hope this will satisfy the Navy’s deep concerns about the airport,” said Mayor John Morrissey.
Carter told the paper construction of a replacement airport would occur sooner rather than later, but no timeline has yet been established.
“While this is an important move, it is only the first step and I pledge to work with the community to bring a new general aviation airport online as soon as possible,” Carter said in a written statement.
The House passed the underlying defense policy bill May 18.