Heidi Heitkamp will be the first of many big-time politicians — Republican and Democrat — who come out in favor of the Essential Air Service. It's a costly program, and the subsidies can be gigantic, but rural constituents like it. And they vote.
U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp says President Donald Trump’s call to eliminate subsidized air service to rural communities could hurt three North Dakota cities.
The North Dakota Democrat says the Essential Air Service program makes affordable air travel available in Dickinson, Devils Lake and Jamestown.
The EAS program subsidizes airline flights to 171 communities in the continental U.S. They would otherwise have no air service. Heitkamp says the program helps “keep rural economies vibrant and connected.”
Trump’s proposal 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.
Photo credit: U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat from North Dakota, opposes the Trump Administration's proposal to close the Essential Air Service. She does not want airports in her state to lose subsidized air service.