A car competes at the former Cumberland, Md. airport autocross

WILEY FORD, W.Va. — The Potomac Highlands Airport Authority voted unanimously on Thursday to resubmit the autocross event description and safety plan to the Federal Aviation Administration for their formal evaluation as it relates to federal grant assurance funding. The authority also voted to work jointly with National Road Autosport to submit the proper form to the FAA.

Authority Chairman Gregg Wolff recommended not moving forward with a specific autocross schedule for 2015 until receiving the green light from the FAA.

“Regardless of the outcome, (National Road Autosport) is welcome to come forward with a mind open to new possibilities to work together with the PHAA to develop a long-range relocation plan for mutual benefit to the airport and the autocross as the construction phase of the AIP (Airport Improvement Plan) looms on the horizon,” said Wolff.

The motion to submit the form to the FAA was made in order to determine a feasible, sustainable solution to the autocross issue, said Wolff.

John Felten, president of National Road Autosport, thanked the authority for agreeing to submit the required forms to the FAA.

“... The reason we have persisted at asking for consideration here isn’t that we make a penny on what happens here but we see it’s been beneficial in our community and that the community is actually the benefactor of us working together,” said Felten. “I appreciate this board’s confidence in asking us to come to the table with you guys. I understand that there is no guarantees but we’ll all be adult enough to accept the decision of the FAA.”

The authority voted in June to deny access to the airport’s operational grounds for autocross racing in 2014 and said that the reasoning behind their decision was because it could affect FAA funding.

“Airports are facilities dedicated to aviation-related activity first and foremost. The PHAA’s first priority is safe and efficient operation of this facility as an airport,” said Wolff. “Our fundamental goal, the instrument that has driven decision making for the last 14 years is to complete our airport improvement plan and this board remains absolutely committed to it. This cannot happen without federal grant assurance funding.”

The FAA is committed to ensuring safe and efficient aeronautical activity at the airport and the federal funding must meet certain guidelines. The authority was able to secure a grant assurance of $2.3 million and the process was streamlined because there wasn’t a 2014 autocross to consider, according to Wolff.

“Using the airport for non-aeronautical events is a privilege not a right and needs to be reconsidered as such,” said Wolff.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.

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