- Associated Press - Friday, March 17, 2017

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - The mayor of South Dakota’s capital city says President Donald Trump’s call to eliminate subsidized air service to rural communities would be a mistake.

Pierre Mayor Laurie Gill told The Associated Press that she appreciates efficient government, but that the Essential Air Service program isn’t a place to cut. She says the program is “vital for rural America.”

The EAS program subsidizes airline flights to 171 communities in the continental U.S., including Pierre, Aberdeen and Watertown. They would otherwise have no air service.

Gill says that if Pierre had no service, residents would have to drive more than three hours to the nearest airport. She says the local hunting industry that draws people from around the country also would suffer.

Trump’s proposal is expected to run into opposition in the Senate.

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