Recently President Trump proposed an outline to cut the budget of the Essential Air Service (EAS) program, a federal organization which grants air travel to small communities neglected by major airlines due to insufficient profit.
The reason for doing so is because the program costs over $250 million annually, all from taxpayers. Further, many people eligible for EAS are not actually that isolated from a commercial airline—some less than an hour away. Even worse is that since most flights profit merely from the program’s subsidy, the serving airlines at times fly without a single passenger—an absolute waste of taxpayer dollars.
That being said, when Trump proposes to cut a service which literally has “Essential” in the title, he sounds like a goddamn supervillain.
Perhaps rightfully so—despite its downfalls, the EAS is an absolute necessity for some struggling Americans. The program has over 150 markets, and about a third of them are in Alaska alone. This is intended to serve the extremely, radically rural Alaskans who have no other options for travel or mail services. Cutting the program hangs these dwindling communities out to dry completely.
Further, once the EAS is cut, commercial airlines (covered by the program) will likely concentrate their focus solely on larger markets. This will inconvenience hundreds of thousands of people across the country.
It seems like a middle way is beyond agreeable. Cut the inefficiencies of the programs, reduce it drastically in size, and keep what is laid out in the title: the essentials.
Time will tell if Trump hears our cries.
Featured image available via Pixabay