ROCKLAND — Knox County Commissioners gave their unanimous support Monday for long-time carrier Cape Air to receive the federal government subsidies to provide service to the region.

The Commissioners met Aug. 1 and voted 3-0 to recommend that Cape Air receive the essential air service designation from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The U.S. Department of Transportation contracts with airlines and provides them federal subsidies in exchange for serving rural regions that might not otherwise attract a carrier.

Cape Air has served Knox County as the essential air service provider since November 2008. Since then, they have flown more than 80,000 passengers locally, according to the airport.

The renewal came up last four years ago when Cape Air was again selected.

“From my desk this is a no-brainer,” said Knox County Regional Airport Manager Jeremy Shaw.

Cape Air invests in new planes and technology and serves the needs of the community, he said.

Commission Chair Dorothy Meriwether said Cape Air has earned the renewal recommendation.

All 18 letters of public comment received by the county were in support of Cape Air, Shaw said.

Three airlines submitted proposals in order to receive the federally-subsidized essential air service designation. That included Cape Air, which states it will serve Knox County with a 9-seat Cessna 402 or a 9-seat Tecnam Traveller; Southern Airways Express, with a 9-seat Cessna Caravans; and Boutique Air, with a 9-seat Pilatus PC-12.

A review of the three proposals shows Cape Air is requesting a subsidy of $3.38 million for the first year, which increases to $4.16 million by the fourth year.

The average fare for passengers would be $111 under Cape Air.

Commissioners also voted Aug. 1 to award the solar power contract for a solar array to be erected at the airport to ReVision Energy. The County already has the building permit for the project.

The Knox County Commissioners met Monday, Aug. 1.