MAYVILLE – The Chautauqua County Airport in Jamestown could be in serious jeopardy if congress decides to keep a cut in place that was presented last week in President Donald Trump’s “skinny” budget.
The Administration’s FY2018 budget proposes slashing funds for the Essential Air Service (EAS) Program by $175 million. Senator Chuck Schumer said the EAS program is critical to supporting air service in a number of communities in New York State, including Jamestown.
Schumer also said that the cut, if it stays in place, will impact the ability of the airport to remain operational and will all but eliminate air service, forcing resident to drive hours to the next closest airport.
WRFA talked with Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan during our Community Matters program this week, who said while he’s concerned about the proposed cut, he’s also optimistic the funding will not be eliminated by congress.
“When you can fly from Pittsburgh for $29 and come to Chautauqua, or come and visit our Comedy Center, our downtown, the PGA Tournament that we host, it’s got a positive impact on our economy,” Horrigan said. “I think Essential Air Service is a good thing and it helps to support our economic development. I would like to see it continue and Sen. Schumer has done a lot to be a champion in this for us. EAS does seem to come up as a budget discussion item, but it always seems to survive so we’ll have to see how Congress deals with that.”
In addition to Sen. Schumer, the EAS program has also received support from Chautauqua County’s representative in the House, Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning, NY 23).