In wake of F-35 announcement, Macon County continues quest securing T-100 project

In wake of F-35 announcement, Macon County continues quest securing T-100 project

MACON COUNTY, AL (WSFA) - The excitement surrounding the F-35 project landing in Montgomery is reaching beyond the River Region, with Macon County leaders also thrilled as they continue their quest in securing the T-100 project.

Joe Turnham, Director of the Macon County Economic Development Authority, says they couldn't be happier.

"We've been pulling for them. They've been pulling for us," Turnham said.

Tuskegee Mayor Tony Haygood agrees.

"It's very encouraging because as you see people uniting, working together, you see positive results," he said.

Watching Montgomery secure this program has boosted confidence in Macon County as they continue work in securing the T-100 Project.

"It has given us a lot of momentum because we realize what can happen and the time comes while you're waiting and waiting and all of a sudden you get an announcement," Haygood said.

Leaders here have been waiting anxiously since March to find out if Leonardo-DRS has won a bid with the United States air force to assemble the T-100 training aircraft at Moton Field.

"Our major thing is, as they say 'check all the boxes' to make sure that we are fully prepared for the opportunity," said Haygood.

While the two projects are unrelated there are some connections.

"It is a part of the legacy of the Tuskegee Airman," Turnham said. "We think synergistic-ally, spiritually, historically they are tied together."

Turnham believes with Tuskegee being able to experience the same success as Montgomery it would be powerful catalyst for growth.

"I think it shows the Air Force's confidence in the team we have here in Alabama," he said. "The Air Force wants to be in communities where they are wanted, celebrated, and embraced."

A final decision regarding the T-100 project is expected to be made before July of  2018.  If Leonardo DRS  wins the bid, it would create 750 new jobs over a 10-year ramp-up period.

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