Apr 15, 2014
Congressman Steve Pearce Votes to Cut Funding to Cavern City Air Terminal and Grant County Airport
New details have surfaced about Congressman Pearce’s misguided budget – and it’s bad news for southern New Mexicans. Congressman Pearce’s budget would end the federal program that ensures the Cavern City Air Terminal and Grant County Airport will continue to offer access to commercial flights. Congressman Pearce’s budget would phase out the Essential Air Service program, including critical federal assistance that Cavern City and Grant County rely on. Cavern City and Grant County received $3,495,541 combined in 2013 under this program.
“In this budget, Congressman Pearce is bending over backward to protect giveaways to special interests and the ultra-wealthy – even if it means that the southern New Mexicans lose out on critical funding for their airports,” said Tyrone Gayle of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Congressman Pearce didn’t think twice about limiting access to commercial flights for southern New Mexicans just to boost special interests’ bottom line.”
The Department of Transportation’s Essential Air Service program guarantees that smaller airports in rural areas are able to maintain access to commercial flights. The program subsidizes three round trips a day between rural airports and large commercial hubs, connecting rural communities to the national air transportation system.
The Republican Budget would End the Essential Air Service. In April 2014, Pearce voted against the FY2015 Republican Budget, which would “phase out subsidies for Essential Air Service.” The bill passed 219-205. [H Con Res 96, Vote #177, 4/10/14; FY2015 Blueprint, 4/01/14]
Essential Air Services Guarantees Rural Access to the National Air Transportation Network. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Essential Air Services was created as an incentive for airlines to support rural areas. [U.S Department of Transportation website, accessed 4/15/14]
Cavern City Air Terminal and Grant County Airport Would Lose Air Service Under the Republican Budget. According to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Cavern City and Grant County Airport are at risk of losing air service because of the Republican Budget’s cuts to the Essential Air Services. [U.S. House Transportation Committee, EAS Communities, accessed 4/15/14; U.S. Department of Transportation, EAS Communities, November 2013; U.S. Department of Transportation, 2012 Rural Airports, revised 11/26/12]
2013: Cavern City Air Terminal Received $1,397,081. In 2013, Cavern City Air Terminal received $1,397,081 from the Essential Air Services program. [U.S. Department of Transportation, November 2013; U.S. Department of Transportation, 2012 Rural Airports, revised 11/26/12]
2013: Grant County Airport Received $2,098,460. In 2013, Grant County Airport received $2,098,460 from the EAS program. [U.S. Department of Transportation, November 2013; U.S. Department of Transportation, 2012 Rural Airports, revised 11/26/12]
Pearce Voted Against $2.7 Million in Increased Funding for the Essential Air Service Program: In 2013, Pearce voted against a Democratic amendment to H.J. Res 59 that would add $2.7 million in additional funding for the Essential Air Services program. The bill failed 190-228. [Motion to Recommit on H.J. Res. 59, Vote #477, 9/20/13; CQ, 9/10/13]