I missed this news item a week ago from AAAE:
AAAE expressed concern that of the $10 million that Congress appropriated for Small Community Air Service Development Program, only $6.8 million is slated to go to small communities that need assistance. According to DOT’s order, the other $3.2 million will be used to cover “current and future administrative support costs.”
The real story here, according to aviation consultant Mike Boyd, is that SCASD is dead (scroll down to September 15):
The DOT last week announced what will be the final awards of the Small Community Development Grant program.
They clutched, and failed to award about a third of the funds appropriated to the program. They noted that they needed to hold back the money for “administrative” expenses. Reason: there will be no 2009 SCASD appropriation from congress.
Stick a fork in it. After seven years, the SCASD program now sleeps with the fishes.
Past grants, including those made this year, will be administered, but it’s a political reality that there won’t be any more congressional gelt showered on this program. The award docket made that point very clear, and our sources in Washington tell us the same thing. It may not be announced as being “cancelled,” but take it to the bank. This boat has sailed.
That’s a real shame. SCASD wasn’t perfect, but it was miles ahead of Essential Air Service in responding to actual service needs and priorities in small communities. Even so, Boyd notes that the program had achieved as much success as could be expected, especially with a rapidly changing economic environment for regional jets. “SCASD was a noble experiment that’s run its course,” he says. “But the people at the DOT who administered the program should roundly congratulate themselves for a job very well done.”