In front of a packed room Thursday, the Carroll County Commissioners voted 3-2 against expansion of the Carroll County Regional Airport.
Commissioners Doug Howard, District 5, and Dave Roush, District 3, voted for the expansion, while Commissioners Robin Frazier, District 1, Haven Shoemaker, District 2, and Richard Rothschild, District 4, voted against the project.
The decision was years in the making, beginning with the previous board of commissioners constructing a master plan that included the expansion of the airport.
would have included the purchase of 13 acres of land to increase the size of the runway, expanding the airport to accommodate larger C3 planes, including corporate jets.
Thursday’s decision means that the Carroll County Regional Airport will remain a C2 airport that can continue to accommodate smaller planes.
Commissioner Howard said the larger airport was needed to relieve Federal Aviation Administration traffic at BWI.
"I think a state-of-the-art facility would be an asset to the county," he added, saying that it would create jobs for the county.
According to a previous , if Carroll County decided to move forward with the planned expansion, the county would ultimately pay for 2.5 percent of the $74 million. Ninety-five percent would be funded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the other 2.5 percent would be paid for by the state.
Commissioner Rothschild said, "From a convenience perspective, there’s no compelling advantage… If we wouldn’t do it with county money then we shouldn’t do it with federal money."
However, Rothschild said he was still open to looking into a C2 expansion.
Even with the breakdown in costs, Commissioner Frazier said Thursday she didn’t think it would get the use that the county needs to afford paying for such a project.
"During the campaign I was against the airport," she said. "Those companies that have those jets are smart, but I don’t think where the location of Carroll County is will necessarily bring those corporate jets here."
But Commissioner Roush, who voted for the expansion, disagreed, saying that this money--if not used for this project--would be used for similar projects elsewhere.
"I would like to remind everyone that the money is coming from a fund called the Airport Improvement Program funded by fees paid by air travelers. That money is there to improve airport access and safety, and if it’s not going to be spent at Westminster it will be spent somewhere else on similar projects."