“YES” on McClintock Amendment to Eliminate Essential Air Services (EAS) Program

Today, the House will vote on an amendment offered by Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) 84% to the FY 16 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 2577) The amendment would save $155 million by eliminating funding for the Essential Air Services (EAS) program.

The EAS program provides subsidies to commuter and regional airlines in order to provide service to rural airports that are not economically viable absent federal subsidies. Earlier this year, CBS explained “There are more than 100 different routes under the program today, and most of them offer multiple flights each day, but in many cases, the planes are virtually empty.”  CBS continued:

Government data shows that on average last year, 44 of the 113 routes flew at least two thirds empty; among them, flights to Devils Lake.

One 9-seat Cessna flies twice daily from Kansas City, Missouri, to Great Bend, Kansas. The government kicks in $1.4 million each year, even though there is usually just one passenger on board.

Another $2.5 million per year goes to maintain near-empty daily flights to and from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, even though it’s just a 40 mile drive to the larger Harrisburg airport that serves the same routes.

The subsidies can reach hundreds of dollars per ticket and simply subsidize rural airports that could not otherwise compete and survive. Taxpayers should not be subsidizing airline tickets for other fliers.

Heritage Action supports the McClintock Amendment and will include it as a key vote on our scorecard.

Related Links:
Heritage Action’s Scorecard