“YES” on the McClintock-Hudson-Bridenstine Amendment #4 to the THUD Appropriations Act
Tonight, the House is expected to vote on amendment #4 to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 2610). The amendment, sponsored by Reps. Tom McClintock (R-CA), Richard Hudson (R-NC), and Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) would reduce by $100 million discretionary funding for the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Essential Air Service (EAS) program.
Created in 1979, the EAS was originally intended to be a 10 year program; yet it still exists in 2013. The EAS provides subsidies to commuter and regional airlines in order to provide service to rural airports that are not economically viable absent federal subsidies. The EAS provides unnecessary subsidies to airports for services the private sector could fulfill in a more efficient and cost effective manner.
EAS is anything but essential. Heritage has explained that terminating EAS would save taxpayers $100 million annually:
Following airline deregulation in 1978, Congress began subsidizing commercial flights in rural communities through the supposedly “temporary” EAS program. Three-plus decades later, federal taxpayers are still paying for the program. Taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize rural passengers who opt for air travel when cheaper or unsubsidized travel alternatives, such as ferries, are available. Any subsidies for these flights should come from the local or state level—not the federal government.
Even the Washington Post suggested:
Ideally, EAS would be zeroed out, and the $200 million we waste on it devoted to a truly national purpose: perhaps deficit reduction.
EAS subsidizes rural airports that could not otherwise compete and survive. Taxpayers should not be subsidizing airline tickets for other fliers. As lawmakers struggle to reduce America’s crushing debt and deficit, eliminating this subsidy should be a no-brainer.
Heritage Action supports the McClintock-Hudson-Bridenstine Amendment and will include it as a vote on our legislative scorecard.