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Thu, Jun 29, 2006

KS Governor Signs Aviation Aid Bill

ICT Subsidies Will Continue

The bill was so nice... she signed it twice. In a ceremony Monday at Wichita's Mid-Continent Airport, Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius signed a bill authorizing state aid for Sedgwick County's so-called "FairFares" plan.

Wichita's KSN-TV reports the symbolic signing at ICT was actually the second time the governor signed the bill, which provides $5 million in state subsidies intended to keep commercial airfares out of Wichita affordable.

"We got your message loud and clear that airfares are critical, affordable airfares are critical," Sebelius said. "Not only to Wichita, but to the entire state."

As Aero-News reported earlier this month, the three-year contract covers subsidies for AirTran's three daily round-trip flights to Atlanta from Wichita. Most of the money -- approximately $5 million -- will come from the state through its Regional Economic Area Partnership fund, with the rest coming from local governments.

That's alot of money to give one carrier, and the plan has not been without controversy... but as Governor Sebelius put it, nearly half the people living in Kansas rely on Mid-Continent to travel in and out of the state... including companies luring customers and new recruits to Kansas.

"I think this bill will help to continue our effort to create jobs, good jobs, and to keep the jobs that we have here in the state," Sebelius said.

FMI: www.airtran.com, www.wichitagov.org/

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