TUSKEGEE, AL (WSFA) - The T-100 project continues to be top of mind for those who live in Macon County. If Leonardo DRS wins the bid from the United States Air Force it would bring hundreds of jobs to Tuskegee.
Wednesday Congressman Mike Rogers stopped in Tuskegee to discuss how the community's efforts are making a difference and the latest on the project.
Tuskegee resident Loretta Alexander says the T-100 project is the talk of the town and lots of people are even wearing special buttons to show their support.
"Everyone is looking for buttons. Every time I put on a button someone wants it so I am without my button today," Loretta Alexander said.
As a business owner, the value of Leonardo DRS building a plant at the historic Moton Field to produce the next generation jet trainer is important.
"I can see growth for the existing businesses, but I can also see the creation of untold numbers of businesses," Alexander said.
Alexander and other stakeholders gathered at the Tuskegee Airman National Historic site to meet with Rogers to see if their efforts are making an impact in Washington.
"They have done an outstanding job at packaging this, and they are continuing to work to make sure folks on capitol hill who may not be a participant in the process and why this is so important," Rogers said.
Rogers says he knows expectations must be managed because they are up against two of the biggest defense contractors. However, he believes they will win.
Leonardo's twin-engine T-100 is currently being used to train pilots around the world to fly next-generation fighter aircraft. The trainer, based on the company's proven M-346 aircraft, has been selected for this role by Italy, Israel, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and Poland. Rogers also feels the history of the Tuskegee Airman will play a factor.
"There is a uniqueness to this site here that has great symbolism and I think that is something Boeing and Lockheed can't bring to the table and I believe the air force will factor that in," Rogers said.
For Alexander, hearing from Rogers first hand has added confidence.
"I appreciate his words of encouragement and support. I am very hopeful we will win this one," Alexander said.
A decision from the Air Force was expected to come before the end of the year. We have now learned a decision may not come until the spring of next year.
For more information on the T-100 project, visit www.t-100.us.
To learn more about the Tuskegee Airman, visit www.airmenlegacy.com.