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(Neb)-EAS, Safety Funding Threshhold Waiver Extended With FAA Bill Signing

By: John Axtell Posted at: 10/10/2018 08:23 AM
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Nebraska's Congressional delegation is applauding President Trump's signing of a bill reauthorizing the FAA for another 5 years and extending the Essential Air Service program. Chadron, Alliance, and Scottsbluff are among 7 Nebraska with scheduled airlines because of EAS subsidies.

      3rd District Congressman Adrian Smith of Gering, whose district includes all the EAS cities, says the bill gradually increases funding for the program from $155-million dollars in the current fiscal year to $172-million in FY 2023. The money comes from air traffic-related fees and taxes.

       The bill also includes a Smith provision continuing an exemption for smaller airports that have fallen below the 10,000 enplanement requirement for full funding through the Airport Improvement Program because of cutbacks by regional airlines suffering pilot shortages.

        Without the waiver, the Western Nebraska Regional Airport at Scottsbluff and its peers would receive only $150,000 a year in safety funds through the improvement program instead to the maximum million dollars.

        Smith says he's pleased the bill mitigates some of the issues caused by the pilot shortage, but remains "committed to finding a long term solution which keeps our airways safe while ensuring a sufficient workforce to meet the needs of rural communities."

          Senator Deb Fischer of Valentine, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, says the bill provides several wins for the people of Nebraska that give them better access to air services and makes it safer for them when they fly.


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