By Katie Weidenboerner firstname.lastname@example.org
DuBois Courier Express
Local airports are cautious, but largely unfazed, by President Donald Trump’s proposal to zero out Essential Air Service funding from the federal budget.
Trump’s spending blueprint, released in mid-March, proposes entirely eliminating funding for the EAS program, arguing that EAS flights are not full and have high subsidy costs per passenger. The blueprint also says that several of the EAS-eligible communities are relatively close to major airports.
Opponents argue the program subsidizes critical air service that connects rural and remote areas to major hubs, helping to grow area businesses and support economic growth.
“There’s major concern about the cut, but I think there’s also a lot of support for EAS,” said Bob Shaffer, manager of the DuBois Regional Airport, which has been a part of the EAS program for 11 years. “It really is the lifeline to the world for rural communities.”
The 40-year-old program costs about $175 million per year to support service in 173 communities across the country.
The Associated Press has reported that in 86 of those 173 communities, Trump received more than 50 percent of the vote.
Pennsylvania is home to six airports that received a total of $14.55 million in EAS funding for Fiscal Year 2017. Among them are DuBois and Bradford Regional Airports, who annually receive about $2.9 million and $2.1 million, respectively.
Funding doesn't come from tax money.....Read more....