PENNSYLVANIA – This week, Donald Trump released his annual budget which would extend massive tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and large corporations while slashing funding for the Essential Air Service (EAS) program — a tool that helps provide life-saving air service and economic development opportunities to rural communities across Pennsylvania.
“Donald Trump’s cuts to the Essential Air Service program are are just the latest example of yet another broken promise to rural Pennsylvanians,” said Pennsylvania Democratic Party Spokesperson Andres Anzola. “His cuts would cripple regional economies by making it harder for rural communities to do business. And they would endanger families in remote areas that require airlifts for life-saving medical treatment. Trump’s reckless agenda has consequences. We will continue to hold the President accountable for putting the needs of wealthy special interests over working families.”
BACKGROUND ON THE ESSENTIAL AIR SERVICE PROGRAM
The Essential Air Service program was established after the deregulation of the airline industry in the 1970s. It has grown into an indispensable tool that connects Americans living in rural communities with the rest of the world. In Pennsylvania, six community airports, including Altoona, Bradford, DuBois, Johnstown, Lancaster and Oil City/Franklin, are served by EAS supported airlines. These hubs help attract new business and provide a gateway for rural Pennsylvanians to access life-saving medical care that’s only available in larger cities.
BACKGROUND ON TRUMP’S REPEATED ATTEMPTS TO GUT THE EAS PROGRAM:
Trump’s FY21 Budget Cut $20 Million From Essential Air Service Programs
CQ: “The president’s plan also would slice $20 million from essential air service programs that work to provide air service to underserved and more rural airports. The program was initially designed to shield airports from the results of airline deregulation, but the administration argues it is ‘outdated,’ with some flights providing as much as $605 in federal subsidies per passenger.”
Trump’s FY20 Budget Proposed A 22% Decrease In Transportation Funding, Including EAS
Fast Company: “Among the cuts Trump is proposing: … A 22% decrease in discretionary spending at the Department of Transportation, including cuts to the Essential Air Service program subsidizing flights to remote airports”
Trump’s FY19 Budget Cut EAS By Almost 40%
Ch-Aviation: “The White House has unveiled plans to revamp the Essential Air Service (EAS) Program both in terms of eligibility criteria and overall funding which will be cut by almost 40% during FY2019….In tandem with the redefinition of EAS, funding to the program will be cut from the 2017 enacted level of USD150 million, to USD93 million in discretionary resources.”
Trump’s FY18 Budget Cut Subsidies For Rural Airports By More Than Half
Reuters: “Job training for unemployed coal miners would be threatened and drug treatment programs would face cuts at a time when heroin and prescription pill addictions are tearing at rural America. Subsidies for commercial air travel in rural areas would be cut by more than half.”
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