Montana’s senior U.S. senator, Democrat Max Baucus, Monday applauded the passage of the Federal Aviation Administration authorization, which includes authorization and one-year’s funding of Essential Air Service.
EAS subsidizes air flights to small communities where airlines could not profitably operate passenger service, including in Havre.
“Whether on the ground or in the air, Montana jobs depend on transportation,” Baucus said in a press release. “This compromise will make sure Eastern Montana has the air service it needs to take advantage of the oil boom, and places like West Yellowstone can continue attracting the tourism that keeps our economy going.”
Baucus helped craft a compromise between the House and Senate versions of FAA authorization that put EAS authorization and funding back in the bill.
The Senate version of the authorization had included EAS, but the House version stripped the service from its bill.
The compromise passed the House Friday and passed the Senate Monday.
Along with Havre, Glendive, Sidney, Wolf Point, Miles City, Glasgow, West Yellowstone and Butte are also EAS communities.
The FAA authorization also provides funding for the Airport Improvement Program, which provided more than $45 million in grants to 34 airports across Montana last year, including $1,057,000 for projects at the Havre City-County Airport.
The Department of Transportation estimates every $1 billion invested in the Airport Improvement Program under FAA creates or sustains more than 20,000 jobs, the Baucus release said.