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Fri, Aug 26, 2005

DOT Offers Air-Bucks For Small-Town USA

Mineta Announces Grants To Improve Air Service to Small Communities

SecTrans Norman Y. Mineta has announced grants totaling almost $19 million that will help 68 small communities in 29 states improve their air services. The grants were awarded as part of the Small Community Air Service Development Program, which helps communities address the challenges of local air service, such as high fares and insufficient levels of service.

“Local air service helps to support the businesses and economies of our nation’s communities,” Secretary Mineta said.

“These grants will help support efforts by small communities to preserve and expand their links to the national air transportation system, connecting residents to the rapidly expanding U.S. economy."

The grants will go toward financial incentives to air carriers, studies to determine air service needs, and marketing programs that encourage communities to use commercial carriers offering local air service. All of the grant recipients have made financial commitments toward their grant projects and most recipients have teamed with the local business community to improve their air service.

A total of 84 proposals were submitted by individual communities or groups of communities in 36 states this year seeking a total of almost $51 million, with 37 proposals being selected for funding.

Grants under the Small Community Air Service Development Program were first awarded in 2002. Many of the previous grant recipients have already benefited from the grants or will soon gain new or upgraded air service because of the grants. Additionally, passenger traffic has increased at most local airports where a grant went into effect over the past three years.



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