House rejects $250 per-ticket subsidy on money-losing rural air routes

WASHINGTON - The House has rejected an attempt to cut off subsidized air travel to rural towns and cities where taxpayer costs exceed $250 per ticket.

The current permissible subsidy is $1,000 per ticket. That's forced just a handful of communities to lose service.

New reforms in a transportation funding bill being debated by the House cut those subsidies to $500 a ticket or $1,000 per round trip to airports subsidized by the $200 billion-plus Essential Air Service program.

Democratic congressman Alan Grayson of Florida sought the tighter limit but was on the losing end of the 224-191 vote rejecting it. He won support from tea party Republicans but not enough Democrats.

Greyson says it would be cheaper to hire limousines to shuttle passengers to larger airports.