Essential Air Service subsidies face dramatic cut

 - August 4, 2008, 7:08 AM

The Republican-led House appropriations subcommittee on transportation, treasury and independent agencies last month approved a new transportation spending bill that would slash Essential Air Service subsidies from their current $113 million to $41.5 million. Sponsored by subcommittee chairman Rep. Ernest Istook (R-Okla.), the proposal would rescind all subsidies to any community within 210 miles of a medium or large airport, slash Amtrak funding from $1 billion to $580 million and raise highway spending from $31.6 billion to $34.1 billion. However, neither legislature has proposed to lower the current level of EAS spending in their respective FAA reauthorization bills, now under scrutiny in a House-Senate conference committee.