Montana Standard: Subsidy sought for Butte airport

Up against the clock, Montana’s congressional leaders are working toward a federal subsidy that would assist service at Bert Mooney Airport in Butte.

Delta Airlines announced in July plans to terminate its Mining City flights, triggering a 90-day period to figure if Bert Mooney qualifies under the Essential Air Service grant program.

The 90 days ends Oct. 13, though House and Senate transportation appropriations subcommittees have proposed cutting off EAS funding for any routes not already approved by the new fiscal year Oct. 1.

U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., recently sent a letter to House Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee chairman Tom Latham, R-Iowa, asking that the deadline be extended to fit Butte’s pending EAS request.

Rehberg requested they either extend the deadline to Oct. 15, or consider EAS for any airport currently going through that process with the Department of Transportation.

“We’re kind of caught in no man’s land,” Rehberg told The Montana Standard. “Under this scenario, they would lose their EAS funds under an arbitrary date of Oct. 1.”

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