Someone Should Ask Senator Hoeven About Federally-Subsidized Flights That Cost $2,000 Each

According to a press release put out by his office, Senator John Hoeven will be in Jamestown on Monday, January 9th to tour the airport there and talk about the “importance of regional air service.” I’m sure the local media will be in attendance, and maybe someone should ask the Senator if regional air service in Jamestown is important enough to bill federal taxpayers almost $2,000 for every departure from the airport.

An analysis of federal Essential Air Service subsidies, and departure/passenger numbers, for the Jamestown Airport shows that every single flight leaving that airport cost federal taxpayers $1,993 and had just four passengers on average per flight. That’s a nearly $500 federal subsidy for every passenger.

And that figure doesn’t include the $3.42 million in federal Airport Improvement Program funds the Jamestown and Devils Lake airports have received from the federal government for each of the last five years.

Our federal government is bankrupt. Senator Hoeven campaigned on taking fiscal responsibility to Washington DC. I’d like to hear the Senator explain how it’s fiscally responsible to spend $500 subsidizing air travel for passengers leaving from a destination that is roughly 100 miles from larger airports in Bismarck and Fargo, neither of which receive subsidies through the EAS program.

Because I don’t think he’s got a good answer for it.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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