Howard Makes Sense on Airport Expansion, Loses Anyway

by Jack White on January 27, 2012

Well, the plan to expand the airport runway in Westminster from 5,100 feet to 6,400 to accommodate larger planes is dead.

Carroll County Commissioners Rothschild, Frazier, and Shoemaker voted to kill it.

The expansion would have cost the county around $1.8 million. Some say more. Of course, it might also have brought money into the county. Most of the bill of some $74 million would have been paid by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Maryland Aviation Administration.

Doug Howard thought that was a good thing. Here he is making sense, as quoted in the Baltimore Sun.

But Commissioner Doug Howard, who with Commissioner David Roush was on the losing end of the 3-2 vote, rejected that argument, saying the federal government’s money would come from a pool specifically allocated for airport safety and expansions.

“This money was raised for that purpose,” said Howard, who represents Sykesville and Eldersburg in the 5th District.

“All we’ve decided … is that the federal government (will) invest somewhere else; bring that economic support to someone else, and put Carroll County further behind the case by not acknowledging the fact that it’s a trust fund for a specific purpose,” he said.

During the discussion, Howard had said he considered a “state-of-the-art airport in Carroll County” to be a needed asset for economic growth, and said a vote against the expansion would, “largely signal to the economic development community that we are taking a step back.”

“I do not believe we are putting a burden on the Carroll County taxpayer,” said Howard.

So that’s that. Now it’s on to the incinerator. If Shoemaker, Rothschild, and Frazier apply the same logic they applied to the airport expansion, they’ll certainly shoot the incinerator project down, too.

Or will they? And what was that logic? Well, apparently that tax money is tax money, and it doesn’t matter who collects it or why. Richard Rothschild pointed out that he was “1000 percent certain”, not 100 mind you, but 1000, that if Carroll County had to pay for it all, the commissioner would have rejected it unanimously. No kidding? So would everyone else in the county.

But, as Howard points out, now that money goes somewhere else. And if it was federal money, isn’t that our federal money that is now going elsewhere?

Rothschild’s logic was on further display in the County press release justifying the decision. He says, “taking free money from the federal government may seem rational, but it doesn’t make it right… taking this money leads our country one step closer to national bankruptcy.”

So where does the money go now? And how far does Carroll County go in rejecting federal funds to save the country?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Eludius January 29, 2012 at 7:25 pm

Sounds like Rothschild, Frazier, and Shoemaker favor economic stagnation for Carroll County. I think that puts them in line with Martin O’Malley, who would like nothing more than to disenfranchise the heavily Republican Carroll County even more.

Ross Dangel January 30, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Typical Tea Party boneheaded rationale on display here by Rothschild, Frazier & Shoemaker. They don’t understand the connection between investment and economic development or know how federal spending works. Their warped and pathetic views that all debt is the same continues to hold Carroll County hostage. I’m sure Rothschild’s just using this decision as more political grist for his Tea Party friends, so he can continue to bolster his standing as a hero to the stupid, while he guts our county’s future economic vitality.

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