Friday, September 30, 2011

Airlines and Airports That Receive Massive Federal Subsidies Fight Higher Taxes

Dodge City Needs Its Heavily Subsidized Airport So Matt, Doc, Kitty and Festus Can Catch the Bad Guys

There is a federal program called Essential Air Service that almost no one has ever heard of, and no one knows about.  Here is the description.

The Essential Air Service (EAS) program was put into place to guarantee that small communities that were served by certificated air carriers before deregulation maintain a minimal level of scheduled air service. The Department currently subsidizes commuter airlines to serve approximately 140 rural communities across the country that otherwise would not receive any scheduled air service.

Wow, 140 Airports that would not have service unless subsidized by the taxpayers.  Here is just one example.

justin Merriman for The New York Times
The airport in Johnstown, Pa.,
 is named for the late Representative
 John P. Murtha and has three
 subsidized flights daily.

On the outskirts of this faded steel town, the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport boasts a modern runway, a high-tech security area and even a trendy restaurant. It lacks one thing: passengers.

Each year, Washington’s Essential Air Service program pays about $1.6 million for three daily flights between here and Dulles International Airport outside Washington. Most flights have 10 or fewer people on board and the airport is virtually deserted. Many travelers drive two hours to Pittsburgh, where fares are often lower and flights are plentiful.

So one would think that a proposal to raise airline fees to help reduce the deficit would be supported by people who are subsidized into existence.  Nope, not the case.

President Obama is asking passengers to pay a few dollars more in taxes for an airline ticket — which already is about 20% taxes and fees. And the travel industry is in an uproar about it.. . . Perhaps no part of the industry is howling louder than regional airlines. They say the $100 tax on a plane every time it takes off hits them — and the passengers who fly on their planes — the hardest.

See, American industry is all for freedom and independence of government interference, except when that interference is to subsidize their operations.  And one of the most ultra Conservative Senators in the Senate is firmly ok with government subsidies and no tax increases to help pay for them.

DC Airport.jpg
Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., says flights from his hometown area of Dodge City already are struggling, although taxpayers subsidize them. If flights are canceled, passengers have to drive nearly three hours to Wichita or farther to Denver or Albuquerque

That’s okay Mr. Roberts, Matt will be guarding the wagon train all the way to Denver.

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