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Local

Essential Air Service program impacts 4 Maine communities
By Office of Rep Michaud
Jan 28, 2012 - 5:38:53 AM

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Congressman Mike Michaud and Republican Congressman Adrian Smith of Nebraska have urged the leaders of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee to preserve the Essential Air Service (EAS) program in the final Conference Report on the FAA Reauthorization.

"Businesses need access to convenient and dependable air service. A company getting ready to expand its operations will not consider an inaccessible community. A business in rural America cannot compete effectively if a lack of air service prevents access to the rest of the country," wrote Michaud and Smith.

Earlier this year, Michaud voted against a House-passed FAA authorization that eliminated EAS program support for airports across the country, including ones in Presque Isle, Bar Harbor, Rockland, and Augusta. Currently, House and Senate leadership are in negotiations on a final FAA authorization, though a compromise is expected soon. The fate of the EAS program is one of the items conferees still need to iron out.

The full text of the letter.

January 27, 2012

Dear Chairman Mica, Ranking Member Rahall, Chairman Rockefeller, and Ranking Member Hutchinson:

As you work to finalize the reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), we write to reiterate our strong support for maintaining the Essential Air Service (EAS) program.

We cannot afford to eliminate a tool the economies of rural communities depend on, particularly when these communities are still feeling the effects of the recession. Businesses need access to convenient and dependable air service. A company getting ready to expand its operations will not consider an inaccessible community. A business in rural America cannot compete effectively if a lack of air service prevents access to the rest of the country.

We do not oppose reforming the EAS program. As with any program, Congress should constantly work to ensure it is spending taxpayer dollars as effectively as possible. However, simply sun-setting the existing program instead of pursuing meaningful reforms would do considerable damage to communities throughout the country. We urge you to preserve the EAS program in the final Conference Report on the FAA Reauthorization.

We are confident you will work in a bipartisan manner to ensure businesses in small, rural communities can continue to rely on air service supported by the EAS program. Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

MICHAEL H. MICHAUD
Member of Congress

ADRIAN SMITH
Member of Congress


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