MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Maxwell Air Force Base will receive $18 million from the United States Air Force to build a new air traffic control tower facility.
The new facility will be for the purpose of force protection and safety, according to Meg Lewis with the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce. In December 2017, Maxwell played a role in the Air Force’s selection of Dannelly Field as a site for the new F-35A fighter jet program; the jets should begin arriving in 2023.
Construction on the ATCT facility will begin in June 2019 and finish in December 2020.
Leaders in Montgomery and the state reacted to the news:
Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange
“This allocation is more than a construction project – this signifies that the Air Force and our congressional delegation recognizes and supports the long-term national significance of Montgomery’s military installations, international students, thought leadership, cyber defense and business systems it supplies to the Air Force. Along with the new MGMWerx innovation center and technology strategy, this is a key piece of infrastructure that will support the F-35 and open new opportunity for Montgomery.”
Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton Dean
“The Air Force’s decision to invest $18 million in the air traffic control tower at Maxwell Air Force Base exemplifies the strength of Montgomery’s military community and the leadership of our congressional delegation. This project will allow for Maxwell Air Force Base and Montgomery to have an enduring and prosperous future, as the best hometown in the Air Force.”
Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Chairman Judge Charles Price
“The Chamber is grateful for the close relationship we have with our representation in Washington and our military partners in Montgomery, and we’re proud to advocate on behalf of our military missions and the men and women who serve our country and call our community home. More than an infrastructure investment, this will not only help Montgomery to better secure and support our current military missions but will position us for future opportunities that sustain and grow jobs and opportunity for Montgomery.”
U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.)
“The Air Force’s decision to direct $18 million to Maxwell for a new air traffic control tower is outstanding news. This needed upgrade will increase the base’s functionality by improving the structural conditions and enhancing the safety and visibility of all operations. Without the replacement tower, the current facility’s health and safety issues could result in ground accidents and costly damage or loss of assets. I applaud the Air Force on their decision to fund the project. As the second busiest distinguished visitor base in the nation, this funding is critical to maintaining and advancing Maxwell’s performance, particularly in light of its support for the F-35 fighter jet program.”
U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-Ala.)
“This $18 million federal award for Maxwell Air Force base is a much-needed and long-overdue investment in its critical infrastructure. The new air traffic control tower that will be built with these federal funds is key to Maxwell’s growth. Alabama has never been in a better position to secure federal support to ensure that our military installations continue to set the standard for training and force readiness. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to ensure that Maxwell maintains its leading role in fulfilling the Air Force’s vital national security mission.”
Congressman Martha Roby (R-Ala.)
“Updating the air traffic control tower at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base is long overdue. I have personally climbed up the antiquated tower and can attest to how dangerous it is and how badly it needs to be replaced. I am very pleased that this issue is being addressed through the recently passed military funding bill, and I look forward to seeing this improvement become reality as Maxwell continues to support the needs of the Air Force in the River Region, including the 187th Fighter Wing’s missions. This would not be possible without Senator Shelby’s efforts, and I appreciate his leadership as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Defense.”
Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-Ala.)
“This is truly an exciting day for Maxwell Air Force Base (AFB) and the surrounding river region. This $18 million investment into a new air traffic control tower will improve productivity across the base. From the opportunity to add new flying missions to enhancing the safety of the brave men and women who work in and around this tower every day, this funding is crucial to the overall success of Maxwell. I am grateful to the United States Air Force for this incredible contribution to Maxwell AFB, and I look forward to seeing the base continue to grow and flourish as a result."