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Small Community Air Service Development Program (SCASDP)

Grants to USA Small, Underserved Communities
to Enhance Service in Local Airports

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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US Department of Transportation - Office of Aviation Analysis

Deadline Date:

12/15/17 4:00 PM EST


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Grants to USA small communities to address limited air service or high air fare issue at local airports. The purpose of this program is to enhance air travel services in currently underserved regions. Funding may be awarded to communities seeking to provide assistance to:

-A U.S. air carrier to subsidize service to and from an underserved airport for a period not to exceed 3 years;

-An underserved airport to obtain service to and from the underserved airport; and/or

-An underserved airport to implement such other measures as the Secretary, in consultation with such airport, considers appropriate to improve air service both in terms of the cost of such service to consumers and the availability of such service, including improving air service through marketing and promotion of air service and enhanced utilization of airport facilities.

SCASDP grants will be awarded based on the selection criteria outlined below. There are two categories of selection criteria: Priority Selection Criteria and Secondary Selection Criteria. Applications that meet one or more of the Priority Selection Criteria will be viewed more favorably than those that do not meet any Priority Selection Criteria.

Priority Selection Criteria:

The statute directs the Department to give priority consideration to those communities or consortia where the following criteria are met:

1. Air fares are higher than the national average air fares for all communities. The Department will compare the local community’s air fares to the national average air fares for all similar markets. Communities with market air fares significantly higher than the national average air fares in similar markets will receive priority consideration. The Department calculates these fares using data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) Airline Origin and Destination Survey data. The Department evaluates all fares in all relevant markets that serve a SCASDP community and compares the SCASDP community fares to all fares in similar markets across the country. Each SCASDP applicant’s air fares are computed as a percentage above or below the national averages. The report compares a community’s airfares to the average for all other similar markets in the country that have similar density (passenger volume) and similar distance characteristics (market groupings). All calculations are based on 12-month ended periods to control for seasonal variation of fares.

2. The community or consortium will provide a portion of the cost of the activity from local sources other than airport revenue sources. The Department will consider whether a community or consortium proposes local funding for the proposed project. Applications providing proportionately higher levels of cash contributions from sources other than airport revenues will be viewed more favorably. Applications that provide multiple levels of contributions (state, local, cash and in-kind contributions) will also be viewed more favorably.

3. The community or consortium has established or will establish a public-private partnership to facilitate air carrier service to the public. – The Department will consider a community’s or consortium’s commitment to facilitate air carrier service in the form of a public-private partnership. Applications that describe in detail how the partnership will actively participate in the implementation of the proposed project will be viewed more favorably.

4. The assistance will provide material benefits to a broad segment of the traveling public, including businesses, educational institutions, and other enterprises, whose access to the national air transportation system is limited. The Department will consider whether the proposed project would provide, to a broad segment of the community’s traveling public, important benefits relevant to the community. Examples include service that would offer new or additional access to a connecting hub airport, service that would provide convenient travel times for both business and leisure travelers that would help obviate the need to drive long distances, and service that would offer lower fares.

4. The assistance will be used in a timely manner. The Department will consider whether a proposed project provides a well-defined strategic plan and reasonable timetable for use of the grant funds. Applicants should describe how their projects can be accomplished within this timetable, including whether the airport and proposed air service provider have the requisite authorities and certifications necessary to carry out the proposed projects. In addition, because of this emphasis placed on timely use of funds, applicants proposing new service should describe the airport and whether it can support the proposed service, including whether the airport holds, or intends to apply for, an airport operating certificate issued under 14 C.F.R. Part 139. Air service providers proposed for the new service must have met or be able to meet, in a reasonably short period of time, all Department requirements for air service certification, including safety and economic authorities.

6. Multiple communities cooperate to submit a regional or multistate application to consolidate air service into one regional airport. – The Department will consider whether a proposed project involves a consortium effort to consolidate air service into one regional airport.

Secondary Selection Criteria:

1. Innovation - The Department will consider whether an application proposes new and creative solutions to air transportation issues facing the community, including:

-The extent to which the applicant’s proposed solution(s) to solving the problem(s) is new or innovative, including whether the proposed project utilizes or encourages intermodal or regional solutions to connect passengers to the community’s air service (or, if the community cannot implement or sustain its own air services, to connect to a neighboring community’s air service) e.g., cost- effective inter/intra city passenger bus service, or marketing of intermodal surface transportation options also available to air travelers; and
-Whether the proposed project, if successfully implemented, could serve as a working model for other communities.

2. Community Participation – The Department will consider whether an application has broad community participation, including:

-Whether the proposed project has broad community support; and
-The community’s demonstrated commitment to and participation in the proposed project.

3. Location – The Department will consider the location and characteristics of a community:

-The geographic location of each applicant, including the community’s proximity to larger centers of air service and low-fare service alternatives;
-The population and business activity, as well as the relative size of each community; and
-Whether the community’s proximity to an existing or prior grant recipient could adversely affect either its proposal or the project undertaken by the other recipient.

4. Other Factors – The Department will also consider:

-Whether the proposed project clearly addresses the applicant’s stated problems;
-The community’s existing level of air service and whether that service has been increasing or decreasing;
-Whether the applicant has a plan to provide any necessary continued financial support for the proposed project after the requested grant award expires;
-The grant amount requested compared with the total funds available for all communities;
-The proposed federal grant amount requested compared with the local share offered;
-Any letters of intent from airline planning departments or intermodal surface transportation providers on behalf of applications that specifically indicate intent to enlist new or expanded air service or surface transportation service in support of the air service in the community;
-Whether the applicant has plans to continue with the proposed project if it is not self-sustaining after the grant award expires; and
-Equitable and geographic distribution of available funds.

Additional Guidance:

Market Analysis: Applicants requesting funds for a revenue guarantee/subsidy/financial incentive are encouraged to conduct and reference in their applications an in-depth analysis of their target markets. Target markets can be destination specific (e.g., service to LAX), a geographic region (e.g., northwest mountain region) or directional (e.g., hub in the southeastern United States or a point north, south, east, or west of the applicant community).

Complementary Marketing Commitment: Applicants requesting funds for a revenue guarantee/subsidy/financial incentive are encouraged to designate in their applications a portion of the project funds (federal, local or in-kind) for the development and implementation of a marketing plan in support of the service sought.

Subsidies for a Carrier to Compete Against an Incumbent: The Department is reluctant to subsidize one carrier, but not others in a competitive market. For this reason, a community that proposes to use the grant funds for service in a city-pair market that is already served by another air carrier must explain in detail why the existing service is insufficient or unsatisfactory, or provide other compelling information to support such a proposal.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 145334

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

The final selections will be limited to no more than 40 communities or consortia of communities, or a combination thereof. Applications for renewal or supplementation of existing projects are not eligible to compete with applications for new Federal awards.

Estimated Size of Grant:

In past years, the Department’s individual grant sizes have ranged from $20,000 to nearly $1.6 million.

Term of Contract:

Subsidies to US air carriers may not exceed a period of three years.

In the Department’s experience, reasonable timetables for use of grant funds generally include two years to complete studies, three years for marketing and promotion (including advertising and public relations) of the airport, community, carrier, or destination, and four years for projects that target a revenue guarantee, subsidy, or other financial incentives.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible applicants are small communities that meet the following statutory criteria under 49 U.S.C. § 41743, as amended by Pub. L. No. 114-113:

1. (a) The airport serving the community or consortium is not larger than a small hub airport, according to FAA hub classifications effective on the date of service of this Order,4 or (b) As of calendar year 1997, the airport serving the community or consortium was not larger than a small hub airport, and

2. It has insufficient air carrier service or unreasonably high air fares; and

3. The airport serving the community presents characteristics, such as geographic diversity or unique circumstances that demonstrate the need for, and feasibility of, grant assistance from the Small Community Program.

No more than four communities or consortia of communities, or a combination thereof, from the same State may be selected to participate in the program in any fiscal year. No more than 40 communities or consortia of communities, or a combination thereof, may be selected to participate in the program in each year for which the funds are appropriated.

Consortium Applications: Both individual communities and consortia of communities are eligible for SCASDP funds. An application from a consortium of communities must be one that seeks to facilitate the efforts of the communities working together toward one joint grant project, with one joint objective, including the establishment of one entity to ensure that the joint objective is accomplished.

Communities Without Existing Air Service: Communities that do not currently have commercial air service are eligible for SCASDP funds.

Expenditures made prior to the execution of a grant agreement, including costs associated with preparation of the grant application, will not be reimbursed.

Pre-Application Information:

Cost sharing or matching is not required for applications. However, applications that provide multiple levels of contributions (state, local, cash and in-kind contributions) will be viewed more favorably.

Applications must be submitted via no later than 4:00 PM EST on December 15, 2017.

The Department provides this assistance in the form of monetary grants that are disbursed on a reimbursable basis.

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Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Brooke Chapman, Associate Director
(202) 366-0577

U.S. Department of Transportation
Office of Aviation Analysis, 8 Floor
Room W86-307
1200 New Jersey Ave. SE
Washington, DC 20590.

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Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming