Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Small Cities Paying for Flights

I'm not really quite sure what to think about this. It seems as if we had a real national rail program that chambers of commerce and cities wouldn't have to be ponying up money to guarantee a certain financial minimum to the airline industry.
With airlines cutting back service in a weak economy, some cities that are too big to qualify for federal help but too small to keep the planes flying in have stepped up with ways to hang on: paying the airlines, either directly or indirectly.
Places like Duluth should have a faster connection to Minneapolis and the airport there. It doesn't really make sense to keep a slush fund that the airline can raid when the economics don't work out for them. There are many even smaller cities out there that depend on Amtrak for their carless connections out of the area. These smaller cities should be on the forefront of regional rail service to larger metro areas with major airports and service.


arcady said...

I remember looking at the table of Essential Air Service subsidies on Wikipedia, and noting that quite a lot of the cities actually have Amtrak service. I think the EAS subsidy to Rutland, VT might be enough to actually run a second daily train, and from what I've seen on my trip on the Empire Builder, many of the northern Montana towns have much higher ridership on the train compared to the "essential" plane.

Matt Fisher said...

One another thing: You misspelled "guarantee". Just a correction.

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

Fun with verbs and nouns.

Thanks Matt.

Andrew said...

Well there is need for better regional rail service with goof transit links to airports.

There are even things like flights between Montreal & Ottawa.

neroden@gmail said...

And Duluth-Minneapolis is actually a proposed (by the state of MN) high speed rail line! So they certainly shouldn't be paying for air service!

Ithaca, NY gets "essential" air service; unfortunately we really don't have passenger rail. It would be intensely popular, if someone could figure out a decent route for it.