Hardin County’s three chambers of commerce — in their first joint endorsement since embracing a more regionalist outlook — on Thursday expressed support of a push to re-establish commuter service at the local airport.
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Commuter flight effort endorsed
Hardin County’s three chambers of commerce give thumbs up
By John Friedlein
Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 7:00 pm
By JOHN FRIEDLEIN
ELIZABETHTOWN – Hardin County’s three chambers of commerce — in their first joint endorsement since embracing a more regionalist outlook — on Thursday expressed support of a push to re-establish commuter service at the local airport.
“The reason Hardin County is as prosperous as it is, is because of transportation,” said Tim Asher, president of the Elizabethtown-Hardin County Chamber of Commerce. He mentioned the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, U.S. 31W and Interstate 65.
Jerry Howard, who serves on the Radcliff-Hardin County Chamber board of directors, said to grow, the area must grow its transportation.
Regional Chambers United — which also includes the Vine Grove Chamber — has scheduled a forum for 11 a.m. June 29 at the airport. During the event, the public can talk to Airport Board members and see the facility and an architect’s rendering of a proposed terminal, said Radcliff Chamber President Mary Jo King.
The three chambers coming together behind the project speaks volumes about what this community wants to do, Airport Board consultant Luke B. Schmidt said.
Mark Haynes, chairman of the Elizabethtown chamber’s board, said, “We want to speak as one voice.” His group has asked members to write letters in support of the effort.
Three major carriers have identified this as an expansion market, Schmidt said.
“Central Kentucky is on a roll,” he said, mentioning the realignment of Fort Knox and a potential electric vehicle battery factory project in Glendale.
“There is no other part of the state that is going to have this kind of growth over the next five to 10 years,” he said.
From Elizabethtown Regional Airport, daily flights could go to connecting hubs such as Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit and Charlotte, N.C.
There was a commuter service here in the ’80s.
To help get one back, Schmidt for the past few weeks has been touting an initiative called the Partnership for Central Kentucky Airline Service Travel Bank. It would provide a pool of perhaps $2 million, which will be guaranteed income for an airline. The way it works is donors put up money in advance and get their contributions back through ticket purchase reimbursements.
The response so far has been very positive, Schmidt said.
John Friedlein can be reached at (270) 505-1746