Thursday, September 2, 2004
Steamboat Springs A $500,000 federal grant will help subsidize daily jet service between Houston and Yampa Valley Regional Airport next fall.
The flight will be the first regularly scheduled flight to a market other than Denver during the fall at YVRA.
Daily jet service between Houston and YVRA was added this summer, and Continental has provided jet service to Houston during ski season for many years.
Routt County received the grant for the fall flights from the U.S. Department of Transportation through the Small Community Air Service Development Program.
The $500,000 would be spent over three years and comes with a community match of $185,000.
Routt County applied for the grant on behalf of the Northwest Colorado Air Transportation Association. The association is comprised of municipalities in Routt and Moffat counties, the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, other area chambers, local businesses and the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.
Routt County Manager Tom Sullivan said the grant application had letters of support from Moffat County, the city of Craig and local businesses.
The $185,000 match is expected to come from the local municipalities and businesses, Sullivan said. The first year match is $67,500. Another $5,000 or more could be added to market the flight.
The grant will go toward guaranteeing the Continental Airline flight from Houston to YVRA.
This summer, the city and chamber funded the same flight for the first time. Through the grant funding, the flight could run from Sept. 8 until the winter flights begin in December.
"(The Houston flight) has been so successful in terms of winter and now summer. And, TIC and a lot of other businesses use the flight," Chamber Executive Vice President Sandy Evans Hall said.
The flight will help with bringing hunters to the valley, Sullivan said and noted many come from the Southeastern part of the country.
"It really makes a lot of sense. It is really appropriate to focus in that direction," Sullivan said.
Another bonus, Sullivan said, is the flight is on a direct jet and should bring in competition for United Express, which could mean lower fares in the fall.
Sullivan noted the summer flight from Houston helped spark United Express to bump its daily summer flights from three to four trips.
The grant was funded by the Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century, which awarded $20 million in grants.
The funding group received $61 million in grant requests. The Yampa Valley Regional Airport was the only entity in Colorado to receive money this cycle.
It is the third time the group has applied for the grant, Sullivan said, and the first time it has received money.
"I guess the third time's the charm," Sullivan said.
On Thursday, the Yampa Valley Airport Commission will be asked to accept the grant and authorize the signing. County commissioners must approve the grant by Sept. 17.
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