Trump’s Budget Proposes Gutting Montana Rural Flight Program

In 2016, more than 37,000 passengers took subsidized Cape Air flights in Montana

BILLINGS — The Trump administration’s proposed budget would eliminate federal subsidies for flights across rural Montana.

The Billings Gazette reports that the budget announced Thursday would cut the 39-year-old Essential Air Service, which subsidizes Cape Air flights from Billings to Glasgow, Glendive, Havre, Wolf Point an Sidney. Without the program, Cape Air would not likely be able to afford to continue the service.

In 2016, more than 37,000 passengers took subsidized Cape Air flights in Montana, a drop of 15 percent from the previous year. The lower demand is attributed to lower oil prices and lighter drilling activity in the Bakken shale fields.

The flights cost about $100 roundtrip and would likely be more than $500 without the subsidy.

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