WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced that the Department of Transportation would provide $7 million from the Small Community Air Service Development Program to help 16 communities in 14 states develop their own solutions to local air service needs. The Department received 52 applications from 27 states.
“Our smaller communities need to be connected to the national and global economies to be competitive,” said Secretary Foxx. “These grants will assist communities in obtaining more affordable and reliable air service for residents, which will help attract businesses and provide better travel options for the future.”
The grant program began in 2002 to help small communities address the challenges of local air service, such as high fares, insufficient levels of service and lack of competition. Since then, the awards have helped 365 communities develop projects tailored to their own air service needs, such as providing financial incentives to carriers, conducting studies on the possibilities of expanded service and carrying out marketing programs to promote existing local service, among other challenges small communities and their airports may experience.
The communities receiving grant awards this year are: Montgomery, Ala. ($200,000); Redding, Calif. ($450,000); Panama City, Fla. ($400,000); Columbus, Ga. ($750,000); Boise, Idaho ($700,000); Moline, Ill. ($500,000); Columbus, Miss. ($750,000); Gulfport-Biloxi, Miss. ($350,000); Bozeman, Mont. ($750,000); Roswell, N.M. ($450,000); Watertown, N.Y. ($235,000); Rapid City, S.D. ($325,000); Yakima, Wash. ($290,000); Eau Claire, Wis. ($150,000); Cheyenne, Wyo. ($200,000); and Sheridan, Wyo. ($500,000).
The selected communities are contributing additional local financial resources to supplement the federal support. In addition, many communities have pledged in-kind contributions in further support of their air service initiatives, reflecting a commitment that is important to the potential success of the proposed initiatives. Nearly all of the communities have established robust public-private partnerships to enhance community participation and facilitate access to air services, provided a specific plan and timetable for using their grant funds in a timely manner, and many have provided letters of support from interested air carriers.
Complete community proposals and the Department’s final order are available at www.regulations.gov, docket DOT-OST-2014-0113.