Extra subsidy remains for 3 Wyoming airports

Extra subsidy remains for 3 Wyoming airports

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CHEYENNE — Airports in Laramie, Rock Springs and Worland would benefit from an amendment that restored a rural airport subsidy to a federal transportation bill.

Last week, $63 million for the Essential Air Service program was stripped from the 2004 Transportation-Treasury Appropriations bill in a procedural move.

Rep. John Peterson, R-Pa., successfully offered an amendment that restored the amount, raising total funding for the program to $113 million.

Congress created the program in 1978 to make sure that communities that were receiving regularly scheduled air service before deregulation did not lose all commercial flights.

After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Congress approved a $63 million supplement to the base funding.

Chuck Howell, chief executive officer of Great Lakes Airlines, said the industry assumed the funding would stay at the higher level.

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