Delegation helped protect affordable airfares – for now

Good for area members of the House Appropriations Committee for fighting off an attempt to defund the Kansas Affordable Airfares Program. The $5 million in funding recommended by Gov. Sam Brownback had been stripped out of the budget by the House Transportation and Public Safety Budget Committee. Rep. Virgil Peck, R-Tyro, complained that the program was supposed to last only five years and questioned whether it was providing a good return on investment, according to Dale Goter, Wichita’s government relations director. But Reps. David Crum, R-Augusta, Mark Hutton, R-Wichita, and Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, successfully restored the funding, arguing that it was particularly crucial to attracting and retaining Southwest Airlines. The funding likely will continue to be a target, however, as lawmakers try to close the state budget gap.