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September 11, 2020

U.S. Representatives Trone, Reed, Thompson Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Provide Economic Boost to Hagerstown Regional Airport

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Hannah Muldavin, Hannah.Muldavin@mail.house.gov 

 

U.S. Representatives Trone, Reed, Thompson Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Provide Economic Boost to Hagerstown Regional Airport

 

Congressman David Trone holds an Economic Development Roundtable at Hagerstown Regional Airport in 2019. 

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Representatives David Trone (D-MD), Tom Reed (R-NY), and Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) introduced the bipartisan Restoring Essential Service to Small Airports Act, which would reinstate six regional airports, including Hagerstown Regional Airport, back into the Essential Air Service (EAS) program to provide a much-needed boost to local economies and guarantee access to commercial air service. 

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Essential Air Service (EAS) program provides critical air service to smaller regional airports, connecting local communities to major hubs and supporting economic growth. In October 2019, the U.S. DOT removed the Hagerstown Regional Airport from the EAS program for non-compliance, despite data that indicated the airport’s compliance with the program. Trone and other local and federal officials unsuccessfully appealed to the U.S. DOT to reinstate the airport into the program. 

This bill would immediately reinstate the Hagerstown Regional Airport into the Essential Air Service program, ensuring that Western Marylanders regain access to affordable commercial air transportation. Regional airports in Kansas, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Wyoming would also regain access to the EAS program. 

“The Hagerstown Regional Airport is vital to the people, businesses, and economy of Washington County and all of Western Maryland,” said Congressman Trone. “By reinstating Hagerstown and other similar airports into the Essential Air Service program, we can ensure that these communities receive a boost in economic activity and connectivity that will allow them to continue to grow and thrive.”

“Hagerstown Regional Airport is a unique amenity for Washington County,” said President of the Washington County Commissioners Jeff Cline. “COVID-19 has severely impacted our airport and this legislation would provide much needed funding.”

“COVID-19 has devastated the airline industry and our local economy, and being able to be reinstated into the EAS Program would be a huge benefit to our economy. Convenient and affordable access to air travel will help our businesses rebuild after this pandemic,” said 

Garrison Plessinger, Director, Hagerstown Regional Airport.

“The Essential Air Service Program provides rural and underserved communities with access to the national air transportation system. Many of these communities were struggling prior to COVID-19 and it is important that access to affordable commercial flights to in demand locations continues,” said Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-15). “Without this lifeline, commercial service will cease to exist, presenting a new set of challenges when it comes to economic development and the long-term growth and sustainability of a community.”

“We care about our region’s access to national air travel because working families and businesses depend on the availability of affordable commercial flights,” said Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY). “The Essential Air Service Program must restore its role as a facilitator of air services in communities like Jamestown, New York to ensure the local economy of  Western New York is not unfairly left out of new economic development opportunities.”

Essential Air Service in Hagerstown

With the support from the EAS program, Hagerstown Regional Airport continued to grow as an important facility in Western Maryland. Hagerstown airport passengers could access daily, affordable flights to Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and Pittsburgh International Airport. Prior to its removal from the EAS program, the Federal Aviation Administration awarded Hagerstown airport $1 million to start construction on a terminal expansion project. 

To read bill text, click here

Congressman David Trone was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2018 to serve the 6th District of Maryland, which includes all or part of Montgomery, Frederick, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties. Trone serves on the Education and Labor, Foreign Affairs, and Joint Economic Committees, where he is fighting to make progress on issues that matter to Marylanders, including the opioid epidemic, criminal justice reform, and funding for medical research.

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