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Hagerstown airport gets grant

June 26, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

The Hagerstown Regional Airport has received a $97,750 grant to develop an airport layout plan, part of which includes analyzing whether a runway should be extended, Airport Manager Carolyn S. Motz said Friday.

The airport's current layout plan was developed in March 1988 and informally modified each time changes were made, she said.

"It looks like quite a mess," she said of the old plan. "It is time to do a whole new one."

The grant for the Washington County-owned airport came from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The grant will pay for 90 percent of the cost of the plan with the County Commissioners and the state each paying 5 percent, she said.

The plan is an overview of the airport's present state and an analysis of how it will look in the future, she said. She does not think the entire plan can be finished before February 2000, she said.

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A portion of the work that will be done on the plan involves seeing if there is a need to extend the runway, as some Washington County business leaders have suggested.

Airport staff will determine how much traffic the airport has now and what to expect in the future, she said.

The total cost of extending the 5,450-foot runway to 7,000 feet has been estimated at $25 million to $40 million because a runway extension would cross U.S. 11.

The Washington County Commissioners, at the suggestion of a Federal Aviation Administration employee, instructed Motz at a March 2 meeting to begin gathering information to show why money for an extension is justified.

That report will now become part of the layout plan, she said.

It usually takes eight to 10 years to have a runway extended, assuming all FAA requirements are met, Terry Page, an FAA engineer, told the County Commissioners.

While the county has considered a runway extension a long-term goal, the issue became more immediate when leaders of the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Hagerstown Committee began lobbying the local delegation of the Maryland General Assembly to support the idea.

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