Rural flight funding could end under GOP reign: House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee criticizes subsidies

A proposal discussing rural flight funding will be introduced today by House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman John Mica. It could end the $200 million federal program that subsidizes rural air service by 2013, coverage in Bloomberg states.

The proposal, part of a $59.7 billion package, is part of a funding plan for the Federal Aviation Administration. Republican lawmakers such as Mica have criticized the government subsidies of rural air services like Essential Air Service, saying that the government “can no longer afford the program at a time of high deficits.”

The program was created by Congress in 1978 to combat small airlines losing flights as a result of degregulation. Congress’ 17 temporary extensions of the current law expire on March 31 and disputes in both the House adn Senate have prevented any long-term extension, over issues ranging from how many flights from the western U.S. should be allowed into Ronald Regan National Airport to individual taxes and subsidy funding for specific states and airlines.A $34.6 billion Senate version of the bill, which protects Essential Air Service, is pending on the floor of that body. The Senate bill is two-year legislation while the House version funds the FAA for four years.

[Flickr via keithreifsnyder]

Loaded gun makes it through airport security

Ben Stiller’s friend on “There’s Something About Mary” wouldn’t let Ben go out with a loaded gun, and perhaps that’s a lesson we should all take to heart. But should you accidentally take your loaded firearm through airport security, you might not get caught. The TSA seems to be great at detecting your shampoo or engagement ring, but agents failed to detect a gun this past Sunday.

According to CNN, Gregory Scott Hinkle went through airport security at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport with a loaded weapon. After he made it through the checkpoint, he remembered that he had the gun, and returned to security to disclose it.

Rather than commend Hinkle for being honest, airport security instead called the police, who charged Hinkle with the crime of “possessing or transporting a firearm into an air carrier terminal where prohibited,” a misdemeanor. Hinkle was released that day, but is scheduled to appear in court on April 2.

The TSA claims that this incident is “not a systemic problem in that our testing indicates TSOs [Transportation Security Officers] have a very high success rate at finding firearms.”

It seems there’s no shortage of people who hate the TSA. Here are some other reasons to be annoyed with the agency:

What to do?