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A federal program that provides subsidies to airlines for providing passenger service to small airports that would otherwise go without came under fire as Congress deadlocked on a recent FAA authorization leading to an agency shutdown.
But the money now looks to be safe as the transportation secretary plans to sign a waiver that overrides congressional calls to end at least some of the funding. That waiver led to Senate passage of a House FAA authorization bill that yanked the funding.
In rural areas where public transportation or highways are sparse, the Essential Air Service program seeks to support air travel. The Department of Transportation subsidizes about 150 of these communities, areas that likely would not be able to support any take-offs or landings without the federal government’s substantial help.