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AK State House Majority Caucus Press release: House Acts to Support Essential Air Service Program (HR5, plus audio)

PLEASE NOTE: a copy of the amended resolution is attached, and a pair of audio actualities from Whip Wilson commenting on HR 5’s passage are available for listening and use at http://video.housemajority.org/index.php?dir=Audio%2FFeb+2011%2F using the 2011020901_PWilson_on_hr5.mp3 file name. – WV

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                          PRESS RELEASE

HOUSE ACTS TO SUPPORT ESSENTIAL AIR SERVICE PROGRAM

Unanimous passage of HR 5 urges Congress to continue funding FAA program

EAS program is critical link for 44 Alaska communities

Wednesday, February 09, 2011, Juneau, Alaska – The Alaska State House of Representatives today unanimously passed House Resolution 5, which puts the body’s support for the federal Essential Air Service Program on the record and calls on the U.S. Congress not to adopt an amendment to a bill before the U.S. Senate seeking to strip the program. House Majority Whip Peggy Wilson, R-Wrangell, sponsored the bill, which was brought up as a special order of business during today’s House floor session and passed with one amendment 38 to zero.

U.S. Senator John McCain, R-Arizona, has crafted amendment four to the FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act which that would eliminate funding for the EAS program, which provides subsidies for 44 Alaska communities.

“This program is vital for rural Alaska, and touches five communities in my district here in Southeast,” Whip Wilson said. “While I can understand the senior senator from Arizona’s thinking when it comes to Lower 48 recipients with communities on road systems, it’s just not the case here in Alaska. We have some of the most isolated and remote communities in the nation, and without EAS support from the FAA they’d lose a critical link to the ‘outside world.’ Many of us are aware that air travel in a majority of our state isn’t a convenience, it’s the only way in or out – it’s a way of life.”

Copies of HR 5 will be sent to President Barack Obama, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Sen. McCain, Alaska’s congressional delegation, and all other members of the 112th United States Congress.

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