Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Franken Supports Emergency Funding of Brainerd Airport

Minnesota Senator Al Franken is asking leading Senate negotiators not to cut funding that supports air service to several important Minnesota communities including Brainerd because it would damage economic development and job creation efforts in those regions.

In a letter to Senate members of a conference committee who are currently finalizing funding for Essential Air Service which supports carriers that fly into smaller airports. He told negotiators that air service is critical to each of the communities’ efforts to create jobs and economic development.

The Minnesota DFLer says reliable air service for communities in Minnesota and across the country is critical to efforts to attract and create jobs, not only in those communities, but also in the entire surrounding region.

Sen. Franken said EAS funding is now more important than ever to preserve air service in Minnesota communities served by Delta Airlines, which has indicated a desire to pull out of Bemidji, Thief River Falls, Brainerd, Hibbing, and International Falls. Delta currently receives EAS funds to serve Hibbing, Thief River Falls, and International Falls. Sen. Franken said Bemidji and Brainerd will likely become EAS airports in the future.

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