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RESOLUTION AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

HOUSE RESOLUTION

State of Vermont

House of Representatives

Montpelier, Vermont

House Resolution


H.R.  16

House resolution urging Congress to continue the federal Essential Air Service subsidy for the Rutland state airport

Offered by:  Committee on Transportation

Whereas, Rutland is the largest commercial center in southern Vermont, and the Rutland state airport serves as a critical transportation center providing Rutland with an air link to the entire nation, and

Whereas, in fiscal year 2005, the net cost to operate the Rutland state airport was $310,633.00 which is certainly a small price in return for the transportation facility’s $21,699,807.00 economic impact on the greater Rutland region, and

Whereas, an important element in the services that the Rutland state airport offers are the daily Continental Connection flights to and from Boston, and

Whereas, these flights and air service to many smaller communities nationwide are financially feasible only because of the federal Essential Air Service subsidy (EAS), and

Whereas, in exchange for deregulating commercial air passenger service in 1978, Congress established the EAS program in the U.S. Department of Transportation to ensure that the airlines did not abandon those airports serving  smaller, but nonetheless locally important, communities in favor of the far more lucrative revenue available in large urban markets, and

Whereas, the U.S. Department of Transportation has proposed to slash the appropriation for the EAS by more than 50 percent from $107 million to just $50 million, and

Whereas, because of the Rutland state airport’s technical “proximity” to the Manchester airport, which federal transportation authorities designate as a regional hub, Rutland’s commercial air carrier would lose its $850,000.00 federal EAS subsidy, and

Whereas, governmental and business leaders agreed that should the Rutland state airport lose the federal EAS subsidy, the Continental Connection passenger service to Boston would be halted, and

Whereas, the loss of commercial passenger service has implications for the vitality of the airport’s overall operations which, in 2006, included 41,950 takeoffs and landings, and

Whereas, Governor Douglas has written to Federal Aviation Administrator Marion Blakey and to U. S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters that the termination of Rutland state airport’s EAS subsidy, and therefore commercial passenger air service “would be economically devastating to the entire southern Vermont region,” and

Whereas, Senator Leahy, Senator Sanders, and Representative Welch have also expressed their strong opposition to the termination of the Rutland state airport’s EAS subsidy, and

Whereas, every effort must be made to retain this crucial source of economic support for southern Vermont, now therefore be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives:

That this legislative body urges Congress to appropriate sufficient funds to the Essential Air Service subsidy program in order to continue the subsidy for commercial passenger service at Rutland State Airport, and be it further

Resolved:  That this legislative body urges Congress to establish a commission to examine the underlying problems related to providing passenger air service to rural communities, and be it further

Resolved:  That this legislative body urges Congress to establish an Office of Rural Aviation within the U.S. Department of Transportation that would have oversight responsibility over EAS contract carriers and that would encourage the growth of passenger air service to rural markets with the goal of reducing or eliminating the need for federal subsidies to the EAS contract carriers, and be it further 

Resolved:  That the clerk of the house be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Vermont Secretary of Transportation Neale Lunderville, to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters, to Federal Aviation Administrator Marion Blakey, and to the members of the Vermont Congressional Delegation.

 

 

 

 

____________________________              Attested to:

Gaye R. Symington

Speaker of the House

                                                                      ____________________________

                                                                      Donald G. Milne

                                                                      Clerk, House of Representatives



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us