House Aviation Subcommittee Chair Tom Petri wants to eliminate federal subsidies for commercial air service to small airports, if they’re within 90 miles of a larger airport. He says many passengers don’t even want to go through a change in flights and would rather find other ways to the larger hub.
Another provision caps the subsidies for each passenger at $1,000. Those measures could save up to $20 million, according to Petri’s office.
The Fond du Lac Republican says for those communities that still want the assistance – state, county or local governments are “perfectly free” to kick in funds rather than relying on federal dollars.
These changes to the Essential Air Service (EAS) program are part of an FAA reauthorization bill approved Wednesday by the House.
Democratic Congressman Ron Kind voted against the bill saying it jeopardizes funding for rural communities through cuts to the EAS.
“Not only do 140 smaller regional airports depend on the funding to maintain scheduled air service, but rural communities have the resources to create jobs and businesses large and small benefit from increased access to the global economy.” Kind says in a statement.
Unless the House and Senate can agree on a final version of the bill, the FAA is at risk of a partial shutdown Friday.