Why is it that the road to the New Bedford Regional Airport more closely resembles Bahgdad Airport after "shock and awe" than a municipal airport looking to attract new business and visitors? Have you driven down Airport Road recently?

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The airport has experienced various levels of success over the years in attracting commercial passenger service. Currently, Cape Air offers cargo and passenger service to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. There is a restaurant on the premises which has also experienced various levels of success over the years, and the airport has a Foreign Trade Zone designation that has never been fully utilized.

The Mitchell Administration has attempted to draw new passenger service to the airport but has yet to make it click.

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The airport is home to several other businesses with an economic output contributing some $32.4 million in value to the local economy annually, according to the City's web site. Two hundred and ninety-seven jobs are tied to the airport with a payroll surpassing $10 million.

So why does the road leading into the thing make it look as if it belongs in a third world country? Keep in mind that for many, Airport Road is the first impression they will get of New Bedford. A CEO landing in New Bedford with an eye toward expanding here should be impressed immediately, and let me tell you, Airport Road just ain't gonna do it.

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If New Bedford wants to take the airport to the next level, and it should, it must address Airport Road and make it more presentable so that visitors and potential investors can take us seriously.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.