“Fair Fares” up for renewal in Topeka

State lawmakers continue to tout benefits of state's "Fair Fares" program.

WICHITA, Kansas – State Rep. Gail Finney and other members of the local delegation to Topeka are urging renewal of the state’s Affordable Airfares program, that helps lower airfares at Mid-Continent Airport.

“Without it, it would be a big difference,” Finney, (D) – Wichita, said. “It makes it much more affordable for people to get backwards and forward across the country, so we definitely need it, and we’ll be pushing for it in 2014 as well.”

The state funds $4.75 million per year to subsidize airfares at Wichita. The city and Sedgwick County provide $875,000 each, for a total of $6.5 million in funding for “fair fares” at Mid-Continent. An additional $250,000 in state money funds lower fares for the twice-daily flight from Garden City to Dallas-Fort Worth.

Passengers we talked to say it makes a difference.

“I’m going to Fort Riley, but it’s $75 cheaper to fly here than Kansas City,” Rita Werner said. “It’s two hours both ways, but I used this airport because it’s cheaper.”

The program comes up for renewal every year in Topeka, with local lawmakers touting the economic benefits it brings to south central Kansas.

“It helps build our economy here, and we’re always trying to attract business here and want people to come here,” Finney said. “What better way than to keep funding the Affordable Airfares program, because it’s a big investment for us here.”

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