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.