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Former commissioner wants hearing held on runway extension

March 10, 1999

Former Washington County Commissioner Ronald L. Bowers on Tuesday urged the County Commissioners to hold public hearings before embarking on a justification report for the extension of a runway at the Hagerstown Regional Airport.

Bowers noted that one of the proposed county goals for 1999 is submitting the justification report to the Federal Aviation Administration by Dec. 31. The report will be written by Airport Manager Carolyn Motz and her staff, with some help from a county consultant.

The county should determine how the community will benefit from the airport, what kind of new planes the expanded runway will allow and what type of planes the airport wants, he said.

If the airport wants more cargo planes, for example, the County Commissioners should hold a public hearing and let the community know, he said.

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The county also should warn residents and businesses near the airport about increased noise related to a runway expansion and hold meetings on that issue, he said.

County Administrator Rodney Shoop said that part of the standard process for getting an expanded runway is a two-year environmental assessment report that includes public hearings. Before reaching that step, though, the county must first complete and submit the justification report.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook has estimated the total cost of extending the 5,450-foot runway to 7,000 feet at $25 million to $40 million. The amount is high because a runway extension would run across U.S. 11.

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