Day 4 #RideMI Motorcycle Tour: Peters Tours Ford Airport to Discuss Importance of Rural Air Service

KINGSFORD, MI – On day four of the #RideMI Motorcycle Tour, U.S. Senator Gary Peters traveled to Dickinson County to tour Ford Airport in Kingsford. Ford Airport is one of nine rural airports in Michigan that uses Essential Air Services (EAS) funding to provide air service to Michiganders safely and reliably. Over the next two years, Ford Airport will receive $3,924,019 in support from the EAS program. Peters also recently announced that the airport would receive an additional $4,843,789 in grants from the Department of Transportation to complete the rehabilitation of runways and the reconstruction of its lighting.

“Rural airports play a critical role in connecting Michiganders to businesses and travel opportunities around the world,” said Senator Peters. “Michiganders across the state rely on rural airports for safe, reliable transportation, and the Essential Air Service program ensures this economic lifeline remains available. Without this support, Michiganders living in rural areas would be forced to travel long distances to access airports and the economic opportunities they help sustain.”

“Ford Airport is working tirelessly to strengthen economic growth in the region and ensure safe, reliable air travel,” said Tim Howen, Ford Airport Manager. “It was great to have Senator Peters at Ford Airport today and we applaud his support on the federal level for programs like the Essential Air Service, which helps promote commercial service to and from Ford Airport and connect the Upper Peninsula to opportunities across the country.”

Enacted in 1978, the EAS Program has provided commercial air service to communities that would otherwise go entirely unserved. The program subsidizes commuter and certificated air carriers that serve over 170 communities across the country. Michigan is home to nine airports that receive EAS funding, including five in the Upper Peninsula.

Earlier this year, Peters led 20 of his Senate colleagues in a bipartisan letter calling for robust funding for the EAS program after President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposed eliminating funding for the program.

Peters is also working to improve flexibility for airports to use Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grant funding to strengthen safety for passengers and visitors outside of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened areas in local airports, such as baggage claims or drop off areas. In June, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approved Peters’ amendments to allow airports to spend Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) funds on airport security infrastructure projects and make Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds eligible for the installation of state of the art surveillance security cameras in public, non-screened areas of the interior and exterior of air terminals, such as baggage claims or pick up and drop off areas.

Tomorrow, Peters concludes his #RideMI Motorcycle Tour with a stop in Oceana County to visit a local family farm.