Md., W.Va. governors take neighborly view of issues


CUMBERLAND -- The governors of Maryland and West Virginia extolled the virtues of cooperation yesterday during a daylong summit at which they agreed to work together on such issues as economic development, tourism, natural resources and transportation.

Governors William Donald Schaefer and Gaston Caperton also announced that commuter air service, dormant at Cumberland Regional Airport for more than a year, would begin again in June with five round trips daily to Pittsburgh by Crown Airways, a USAir affiliate.

The two states worked together to resurrect commuter air service to the airport, which is operated by an authority consisting of members from Maryland and West Virginia. The airport is located across the Potomac River from Cumberland in Wiley Ford, W.Va.

"This shows that regionalism wins when everyone works together," Governor Schaefer said during the summit at the Cumberland Country Club. He recalled the first meeting about the airport between the two governors.

"The governor said to me that this [airport] is good for both states, so let's do it," Governor Schaefer said. "That was the beginning, and now I look forward to the day when we have commuter service from Cumberland to BWI."

Crown Airlines officials said they hoped to expand service to othercommunities in Maryland. The commuter airline now operates in sevencities in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. A 19-passenger aircraft will make the trip between Cumberland and Pittsburgh -- about a two-hour drive -- in 40 minutes.

Some of the other areas officials discussed were entering into a cooperative agreement to purchase commodities in bulk, improving the water quality of the Potomac River and exploring joint efforts in international trade.

Mr. Schaefer said he would like to see other states, such as Pennsylvania and Virginia, join forces with Maryland and West Virginia to push for international trade. "If we could figure out a way to work together, we would be a powerful force," he said.

Governor Schaefer also announced that the state Department of Economic and Employment Development had approved a $950,000 loan to help the expansion of the Schwab Co., an Allegany County manufacturer of infants' and children's clothing.

The plant employs about 475 workers, and company officials expect the expansion to create another 50 jobs.


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