Friday, March 31, 2017
BIlly Long disagrees with Trump on cutting funding that helps Joplin Airport
Essential Air Service (EAS), administered by the Department of Transportation (DOT), is an important part of southwest Missouri. This program allows for smaller communities, like Joplin, to have a certain number of roundtrip flights each week at a lower rate.
The DOT recently reselected American Airlines to continue to provide EAS at the Joplin Regional Airport through Feb. 28, 2019.
Over the years, this program has attracted many individuals and businesses to southwest Missouri. Without this program, the Joplin airport would likely have no commercial air service.
Since its operations began, the EAS program at the Joplin airport has proven to be quite successful. With an increase in passenger traffic, American Airlines alone has more than quadrupled their passenger traffic, which has resulted in a significant decrease in subsidy. Under the new contract, depending on what type of aircraft is used, the annual subsidy will be either $395,899 or $839,513.
I understand a program like this might be perceived as not needed or useful, but when you live in rural areas, like those in southwest Missouri, programs like these can benefit individuals with limited resources that otherwise might not be able to fly.
Though the President’s proposed budget eliminates this program, a proposed budget is just that, a proposed budget. There will always be items in a budget that people agree and disagree on. Eliminating EAS funding just happens to be one of those things I disagree on.
I will continue to work on behalf of my constituents to ensure that this program is not eliminated from the budget. With Missouri’s 7th Congressional District being predominately rural, I understand the value of a program like this.