Thursday, April 14, 2016

Okla. lawmakers want to eliminate Essential Air Service; state doesn't qualify for subsidies

A pair of Republican lawmakers from Oklahoma have called for an end to the Essential Air Service program, saying it wastes $275 million per year on flights for few passengers, Chris Casteel reports for The Oklahoman. Sen. James Lankford said "It is simply unfair to expect families in 99 percent of cities to subsidize convenient travel options for passengers flying in and out of the Essential Air Service airports. Congress should recognize that this 37-year temporary program is no longer essential and should eliminate it." The program provides 113 separate commercial flights to rural and remote areas. (Wikipedia map)

"The Essential Air Service has long been a target of lawmakers and outside groups seeking to cut government spending," Casteel writes. "No Oklahoma communities are eligible for the subsidies; Enid and Ponca City were dropped from the program a decade ago. Lankford and [Rep. Steve] Russell have introduced separate measures to eliminate all funding for the program, which, according to Lankford, can cost federal taxpayers more than $500 per passenger." (Read more)

No comments: