Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce Transportation Committee Chairman Chip Hood, who is also a member of the Airport Commission, called the air show the biggest event in the Rome-Floyd County area this year.
“Bigger than the NAIA football championships and bigger than the (Atlanta) Steeplechase,” Hood told the committee. “We really need to jump on it and get behind it next year.”
Airport Manager Mike Mathews said the air show and significant increases in cargo traffic at the airport made October a record-setting month. Much of the billing related the air show at the end of September was booked in October.
“We netted in October what we usually make in a year,” Mathews said.
With several bills from the month outstanding, Mathews said he thinks the bottom line for October will be about $100,000 profit.
Mathews told the Transportation Committee that November also got off to a rousing start, with five cargo shipments in one night last week, resulting in the sale of $10,000 worth of fuel.
“The cargo traffic started in March, and it hasn’t let up,” Mathews said.
Atlanta Gas Light Director of Community and Economic Development Paul Leath spoke to the panel about expansion of compressed natural gas (CNG) as a fuel source for vehicular fleets. The Georgia Public Service Commission is funding a grant program that will develop five fueling depots across the state — three in metro Atlanta, one near Savannah and the other near Valdosta.
Each of the fueling stations will cost between $1 million and $1.5 million.
“We asked the communities to come up with about 20 percent of the base load,” Leath told the Rome business group.
Leath said the conversion to natural gas is particularly cost effective for fleets that run diesel trucks six to seven days a week, 10-12 hours a day. He said the average truck will get about 100 miles per fill up at less than half of the cost of diesel.
“Atlanta Gas has committed to converting 50 percent of its fleet over the next five years,” Leath said. “If we can get the infrastructure right, it will be an easy decision to make the conversion.”
Rome-Floyd County Planning Director Sue Hiller told the committee that an archaeological study related to extension of the trail on the Oostanaula River to Summerville Park should take no more than a week once it gets under way.
The private group that raised nearly $100,000 in 10 days to convince the County Commission to move forward with the project will be known as TRED — Trails for Recreation and Economic Development.