Washington, DC—Today Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) signed onto a letter to Congressman Joe Knollenberg, the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury and Housing and Urban Development, the Judiciary, and the District of Columbia, urging him to support the full funding of the Essential Air Service Program (EAS), which the Administration has proposed cutting by 50% in their budget. The severe cut would cause Chautauqua County/Jamestown Airport to lose EAS funding.
“The EAS program is a critical thread that runs through rural America and gives the ability for these areas to be accessible and economically viable,” said Congressman Higgins. “Chautauqua County does not have the extensive transportation options that are available in large metropolitan areas. The EAS program is the only guarantee rural communities have that air service will continue to be available. With the slashing of this program, this Administration fails to recognize the needs of rural communities, and threatens the economic development of our entire region.”
Rural airports rely on EAS funding to provide commercial air service to travelers and residents. The funding cut proposed by the Administration would be based upon how far rural communities are located from a major airport. Since Jamestown Airport is primarily used by communities less than 100 miles away, the entire commercial air service subsidy would be lost, and the EAS program would only receive 50 percent of the funds they need for surface transportation such as busses or shuttles.
Congressman Higgins continued, “The economic benefit air service provides to rural communities in the form of good paying jobs, growing businesses, and travel far outweighs any potential cost savings provided by the Administration’s proposed changes to the program. I know firsthand the impact EAS has as a lifeline for our communities and as an engine for their growth.”