Plenty of satisfaction with airport terminal Schaefer: The former governor, mayor and councilman is lauded in the dedication of the new light rail stop


December 06, 1997|By Marina Sarris | Marina Sarris,SUN STAFF

William Donald Schaefer, the famously impatient and never satisfied former governor, beamed yesterday as he surveyed the new international airport terminal that bears his name.

"I wouldn't say I'm satisfied," said Schaefer. "I'm extra, double, triple satisfied. Everything is just great."

Yesterday's dedication of a new terminal and light rail stop at Baltimore-Washington International Airport in Anne Arundel County turned into a tribute to Schaefer, Maryland's governor from 1986 to 1994.

Elected officials credited Schaefer, 76, with promoting international trade and improving transportation during his long tenure as mayor of Baltimore and governor.

About 500 politicians, government employees and business representatives attended a dedication ceremony that featured a grand stage, a children's performing act and rousing music -- touches that seemed designed to appeal to the flamboyant Schaefer.

The event was held in the two-level, $140 million international pier. On the bottom level, a new light rail stop links the airport with Penn Station in Baltimore and with the main light rail line from Hunt Valley to Glen Burnie.

Both the international pier and the Penn Station-BWI light rail service open for business today.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening, who has not always been on the best of terms with Schaefer, couldn't say enough nice things about his predecessor.

"It's very clear to me that we would not be here except for some of the decisions of Don Schaefer," he said, adding later, "It is very fitting that we dedicate this international terminal to William Donald Schaefer."

U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat, agreed. She told the crowd how Schaefer, also a former City Council member, was involved in Baltimore's sale of BWI to the state in 1972. The city got $36 million for the airport.

Schaefer, who now teaches at the University of Maryland, finally took the podium. "Every time I come to one of these," he said, "I think it's my obituary."

And he warned folks he might be long-winded, although he wasn't. "If anyone gets tired of listening to me, walk out," he said. "Over at the school where I teach, I watch the kids walk out. Now they walk out two at a time. It doesn't faze me. I just sit there and talk to the walls, and they respond the way the kids do."

The crowd roared.

Schaefer talked about the importance of international trade and about feeling part of something important, such as the airport project. "You walk around and say, 'I was part of that.' "

Earlier, Federal Transit Administrator Gordon J. Linton summed up: "Governor Schaefer had a slogan years ago: 'Let's do it now.' Now it's been done."

Pub Date: 12/06/97

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