The Small Community Air Service Development Program (SCASDP), a grant program designed to help small communities address air service and airfare issues, is managed by the Associate Director, Small Community Air Service Development, under the Office of Aviation Analysis. The Essential Air Service (EAS) and SCASDP programs are separate and unique. SCASDP’s eligibility criteria are broader and provide a grant applicant the opportunity to self-identify its air service deficiencies and propose an appropriate solution. EAS is a direct subsidy to air carriers and serves a limited universe of eligible applicants. Please refer to the EAS website for additional information. SCASDP can involve, among others, revenue guarantees, financial assistance for marketing programs, start-up costs and studies.
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By this Order the Department awards 25 grants under the Small Community Air Service Development Program (Small Community Program - SCASDP) benefitting commnities in 22 states to assist in the implementation of the air service initiatives proposed in their grant applications. The communities, the amount of funding requested by the communities, and the rationale for each award are listed in the Appendix to this Order. Award recepients must affirm their grant awards by entering into grant agreements with the Department on or before November 15, 2013. Award recepients may not seek to be reimbursed funds under the Small Community Program until they affirm their grants.
On April 5, 2000, the President signed the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR-21), Public Law 106-181, which, among other things, established a new pilot program designed to help smaller communities to enhance their air service. Vision 100-Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act, P.L. 108-176 reauthorized the program and deleted its status as a "pilot" program.
Specifically, the law authorizes the Secretary to make a maximum of 40 grants each year though no more than four of those may be to the same state (a consortium of communities is considered a single entity).
The core objective of the program is to secure enhancements that will be responsive to a community's air transportation needs and whose benefits can be expected to continue after the initial expenditures.
To be eligible for a grant, the community must meet the following criteria:
Size-for calendar year 1997, the airport serving the community or consortium was not larger than a small hub airport, and
- had insufficient air carrier service; or
- had unreasonably high air fares
Characteristics-the airport presents characteristics, such as geographic diversity or unique circumstances that will demonstrate the need for, and feasibility of, the program.
The program was not funded in its first year, fiscal year 2001, but was funded and implemented in each of fiscal years 2002 through 2005 at a level of $20 million. The Department of Transportation’s budget appropriation for 2006-2007 provided the Department with $10 million to administer the Small Community program. In 2008-2009 funding was provided at $8 million.
For fiscal year 2010 SCASDP was appropriated $6 million to carry out the Small Community Program. However, the Department made $7 million available for grant awards. The Department added additional funds that can be reallocated from prior year recoveries, a process which continues into FY 2013. In FY 2011 and FY 2012, the Department was able to make $15 million and $14 million available for grant awards, respectively. For FY 2013, the Department was able to make up to $11.5 million available for grant awards.
Grant funds to the selected communities are available on a reimbursable basis under which the community expends funds related to implementation of the approved grant project, and then seeks reimbursement from the Department for project expenditures.
Communities that were awarded grants in previous years that want to apply for a grant this year should be aware that they are precluded from seeking funds for projects that have already received an award under the Small Community Program. However, previous grant recipients may submit grant proposals and seek funds for new projects. That said, the funds for this program are very limited and the interest in the program has far exceeded both the funds available and the number of communities that can participate under the statute in any one year. The fact that a community has already received one or more grants will be a consideration when comparing its new proposal with those of other applicant communities.
The grant funds awarded do not need to be expended in the fiscal year that they are awarded. Nor do they need to be used within a one-year period. Authorized grant projects may include activities that extend over a multi-year period under a single grant award to the extent reasonable and practicable. Generally speaking, grant awards have not exceeded a three-year period.
The Small Community Program provides considerable flexibility in how funds can be used to implement a community’s grant proposal. For example, grant funds can be used to cover the expenses of any new advertising or promotional activities that can reasonably be related to improving the air service to the community. Funds may also be used for new studies designed to measure air service deficiencies, or to measure traffic loss or diversion to other communities, or for advertising or public relations agencies, and consulting firms.
In addition, grant funds may be used for financial incentives, such as revenue guarantees to air carriers to provide service, or to ground handling providers. The statute limits the use of grant funds for air carrier subsidy to a maximum period of three years. That same limitation applies to revenue guarantees and other forms of ongoing financial support for air carrier operations. These serve only as illustrative examples and are not meant to comprise an exhaustive list.
In selecting communities to participate in the program, the statute directs the Secretary to give priority to those communities where:
- average air fares are higher than the air fares for all communities;
- a portion of the cost of the activity contemplated by the community is provided from local, non-airport-revenue sources;
- a public-private partnership has been or will be established to facilitate air carrier service to the public;
- improved service will bring the material benefits of scheduled air transportation to a broad section of the traveling public, including businesses, educational institutions, and other enterprises whose access to the National air transportation system is limited;
- the assistance will be used in a timely fashion; and
- multiple communities cooperate to submit a regional or multistate application to consolidate air service into one regional airport.
To comply with the Grants.gov initiative, a mandate of the President’s Management Agenda, all applicants must submit form SF424, Application for Federal Domestic Assistance, found on Grants.gov. Grant proposals must be submitted as an attachment to the SF424.
The cover page of each application should contain the information specified under “Cover page contents,” below. Questions regarding the program should be directed to the Office of Aviation Analysis on (202) 366-2347 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A community may file its proposal anytime after the initial registration process has been completed on www.grants.gov as long as the entire application is filed by June 11, 2012.
The Grants.gov Applicant Resources page provides instructions and guidance on completing the registration and application processes. Communities are encouraged to contact the Grants.gov help desk for any technical assistance in filing their applications.
Cover Page Contents
The cover page for all applications should bear the title "Proposal Under the Small Community Air Service Development Program, Docket DOT-OST-2012-0069" and should include:
- the name of the community or consortium of communities applying for the grant;
- the legal sponsor and its Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number, including + 4; and
- the 2-digit Congressional district code applicable to the sponsoring organization and, if a consortium, to each participating community.
Questions regarding the program or the filing of proposals should be directed to:
Updated: Wednesday, June 26, 2013