Sat. Oct 24th, 2020

By Donna Westfall – June 28, 2017 – Does it make any sense to have a brand, spanking new airport terminal for $2.8 million when we’ll have virtually no airport service?

Essential Air Service (EAS) is what keeps our airport alive.  They do it through subsidies and  PenAir reaps the benefits by having flights in and out of our terminal.

H.R. 2997 was introduced in the House by Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster. He serves the 9th District of Pennsylvania as their Congressman. If his bill is passed, it will fund EAS for six years in increasing amounts.  He’ll have Republican support but probably not Democratic support and here’s why:

Part of HR 2997 is to transfer the operation of air traffic services currently provided by the Federal Aviation Administration to a separate not-for-profit corporate entity.  Democrats like big government and won’t like government jobs being taken away….. which we can call, “Huffman’s Quandary.” Now if someone were to submit an amendment separating it and keeping the government jobs, Dems would probably support it.

In the meantime, this is what you can do.  Contact: LaMalfa, DeFazio and Huffman as all three are on the Transportation Sub-Committee, and tell them to get this bill passed first in committee, and then it goes to the full committee.  If we all do our homework, this will be voted on this year and if passed, can keep our airport alive for at least the next six years.  If it fails, our airport is most likely doomed because PenAir will pull out.

Keep in mind that our area is only 3% of the population Congressman Huffman covers.  That’s not a huge motivation for him to support this bill.  But, he should realize how important it is to keep our airport viable.

Take a minute and let him know your thoughts.  It’s easy.

He has a Facebook page:  Congressman Jared Huffman.  Send him a comment to vote FOR HR 2997

He has an office in Eureka:  Phone: (707) 407-3585

5th District Supervisor, Bob Berkowitz, had this item put on the next Board of Supervisor’s agenda for discussion in two weeks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “The importance of keeping EAS Alive”
  1. There are a couple of things going on here. Greg Burns the lobbyist for Del Norte County stated at last months meeting President Trump was going to ax the EAS nation wide. Couple that with the fact that California is a “sanctuary” state..might prove to be the end all for EAS funding for our county and state….If we want to look at this realistically the airport’s main use is for medical emergencies….most people I know do not utilize this airport for their travels because of the cost, as Medford is an international airport. the positive aspect for Del Norte County is the fact that this airport must exist because we are so far away from everything. Based upon the Rural aspect we have the EAS funding through September of 2019…after that…I would be concerned…

  2. Sam, you are right. Let’s not forget that what, PenAir averages less than five passengers a day? Taxpayer subsidies for a service that the typical passenger will not use? To think that the service will ever be successful for 600 bucks a pop round trip is frankly, a pipe dream.

    Since our bureaucrats and electeds at the local, State, and Federal levels are not really doing a whole heck of a lot for us, let them drive up here- 40 bucks for a tank of gas is a whole lot more cost effective. The niche this airport should fill is medical emergency and Piper Cub travelers; a small, county airport.

  3. Donna, There is absolutely no chance that EAS will be eliminated. It benefits too many of our Federal and State level Representatives and their staffs at an extremely low cost to the Federal Government’s budget. EAS elimination is all hype to give the representatives something benign to talk about, bash Trump, and in the end call the re authorization of EAS a big win. I to, thought that it was possible it would end initially when Trump talked about it as a possible cut, but he doesn’t get to say what will be cut, Congress does, and there is no will in Congress to cut a program which allows Federal and State employees the ability to access constituents in remote areas with the ease of air transportation at minimal cost to the Federal Budget. The current $150 million is almost entirely funded by over flight fees and not the tax payer. The Congress will no doubt cut and snip various parts of the bill then send it up the line to be passed by a wide margin. At which point Trump will have no choice but to re authorize the program.

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