A family-owned daily newspaper serving Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming since 1949

Laramie not panicking about proposed cutback in air service

Apr 2, 2017 - From staff reports

The city would be among 112 communities nationwide to lose out if the Essential Air Service subsidies are eliminated in the federal budget.

LARAMIE (AP) -- A manager at Laramie's regional airport says it's too soon to panic over a Trump administration proposal to eliminate subsidized air service to rural communities.

The city would be among 112 communities nationwide that could lose out if the Essential Air Service subsidies are eliminated.

Airport manager Jack Skinner says the program has been on the chopping block before.

He tells the newspaper that he's concerned but optimistic.

The subsidy allows SkyWest Airlines to operate out of Laramie Regional Airport, which is home to the University of Wyoming. Mayor Andi Summerville says the city would need to provide $2 million to the commuter airline if the subsidy goes.

The airport served more than 29,000 passengers in 2016.

"To not have air service to the state's only four-year institution is almost unthinkable," Sum-merville said.

"They bring in potential business prospects, donors to the university and athletes for our teams. The loss of that air service would be an absolutely detrimental blow to our economy."

President Donald Trump's proposal is part of his budget plan. It's an early step in a lengthy budget process and is expected to run into opposition in the Senate, where lawmakers from rural states have helped keep the program alive despite several previous attempts by budget-cutters to kill it.

Critics of the program say the subsidies are too expensive for a relatively small number of passengers served.

Eliminating it would save about $175 million a year, according to the Trump administration.

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