Pennsylvania Lawmakers to Evaluate Erie International Airport

Aug. 6--Public hearing to follow tour by 9-member state House commission Erie International Airport will be under the microscope come Wednesday.

A group of state legislators who evaluate Pennsylvania airports is due to visit Erie that day for a tour and public hearing to gather information on Erie International's operations, management, infrastructure, economic effect and future needs.

Airport Executive Director Kelly Fredericks said he welcomes the time in the spotlight.

"We see this is as an enormous opportunity," Fredericks said. "We look at it as quite an honor."

The bipartisan group is the Transportation Entities Commission, which consists of nine state House members. It was formed in 2004 to study and evaluate the operations and future needs of the airports in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg.

The chairmen of the group are state Reps. Ron Raymond of Ridley Park, R-162nd Dist., and Robert C. Donatucci of Philadelphia, D-185th Dist.

The group completed its evaluations and reports on Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg airports, and now has been commissioned by the state House to turn its attention to airports in Erie, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Allentown, and State College.

Fredericks said he sees the visit as an opportunity not only to showcase the airport, but as a chance to familiarize state policy-makers with the airport's goals and needs -- including its planned runway extension and the international trade center it is trying to develop.

The group is scheduled to tour the airport at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, get a briefing of its operations at 3:30 p.m., and conduct its public hearing at 4 p.m.

Fredericks said some officials have already expressed an interest in testifying at the hearing, including Erie City Councilwoman Rubye Jenkins-Husband and Robert Spaulding of the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership.

But he said anyone can sign up to testify, and information on how to sign up would be made available by the commission before the hearing. The commission told the airport that written testimony is preferred, and asked if those testifying could bring 12 copies of their remarks.