In 2002, DOT launched the Small Community Air Service Development Program to help address the challenges of securing local air service in communities that lacked access to air travel.
For these small markets, obstacles like high fares, insufficient levels of service, and lack of competition pose significant barriers. But during the past decade, SCASDP awards have helped more than 300 communities develop good projects that eliminate those barriers. From providing financial incentives to carriers to conducting studies of expanded service, DOT is helping smaller communities attract the air service they need.
And last week, we announced a new round of grants to 33 more communities.
From Culebra, Puerto Rico, to Corpus Chrsti, Texas, and on up to Casper, Wyoming, the $13.9 million we awarded will go a long way toward helping these communities maintain important access to our national air transportation system.
In fact, in one case a single grant will support two different communities more than 1,600 miles apart. $900,000 will establish the first non-stop air service between Culebra and San Juan International Airport. Culebra, in partnership with Block Island, R.I. submitted an innovative proposal that would provide revenue guarantees to Cape Air for new seasonal service at both airports. Under this first of its kind agreement, Cape Air would operate the Culebra-San Juan route in Puerto Rico between October and May and then fly a Block Island-Providence route in Rhode Island between May and October.
This will provide new air routes for two communities that currently have very limited service, and provide access to the national air transportation system via hub airports, which they do not have today. Even better, public and private partners in both communities have committed an additional $115,320 to the project.
Our air transportation network is a tremendous national asset. With the Small Community Air Service Development Program, DOT is working hard to make sure even more Americans have access to this important resource.