No need to justify need for an airport

04/24/2015

Ocean City’s airport has been at the center of many major arguments over the years, including the current one about whether it should be losing as much money as it appears.

Before that, the debate was not whether it should be expanded to accommodate larger planes, but how that expansion should be configured. Remember the one about city government’s plan that would require the relocation of Route 611 so the runway could be extended?

But well before that idea fizzled, bringing that discussion to a quiet end, there were accusations some 20 years ago about whether some officials were secretly working to expand the airport and were buying land to that end.

That, of course, led to adamant declarations that all land bought (that wasn’t going to the golf course) was for a federally required buffer zone.

It short, the airport has been something of a political mess for the past three decades, with staunch advocates envisioning something greater and opponents contending that less would be the best approach.

Whether the airport contributes as mightily to the local economy as has been suggested remains to be seen, but that doesn’t mean that Ocean City shouldn’t have the airport or that it doesn’t need it.

Of course, Ocean City needs the airport. Yes, people do fly to Ocean City from elsewhere and, yes, local aircraft owners and pilots do use it regularly and yes, it’s not going to pay for itself any time soon, if ever. But it is something a resort such as Ocean City needs on its marketing resume.

Maybe it doesn’t have to lose quite as much money as it routinely does and there certainly seems to be plenty of room to adjust fees to work toward that.

City officials should take a look at that possibility and stop worrying about defending the facility. It’s there and it’s staying there for years to come.

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