Walla Walla will not be only community to receive DOT grant

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Walla Walla isn’t the only community that will receive a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., announced Tuesday the community will receive a two-year $250,000 grant intended to market the Walla Walla Regional Airport to local residents. What that campaign will look like has not been completely ironed out yet, officials said.

But through advertising and other formats, the goal is to bolster air service by encouraging locals to fly out of Walla Walla when possible if air travel is on their agenda.

Here are a few other details about the allocation that came out after Tuesday’s deadline: Walla Walla is one of 33 communities across the country to receive a total of $13.9 million from the DOT’s Small Community Air Service Development Program. The program is intended to help small communities develop solutions to their local air service needs.

The program began in 2002 to help communities address an array of issues, from high fares to insufficient levels of service and lack of competition. Money designated has helped more than 300 communities tailor projects to their own needs.

Those include providing financial incentives to carriers, conducting studies on expanding service and carrying out marketing programs to promote existing service, as Walla Walla will do.

“This grant will help Walla Walla improve its air service and provide better travel options for its residents,” said DOT Secretary Ray LaHood in a prepared statement.

Almost all of the grant recipients have made a financial commitment toward their grant project. In Walla Walla’s case, public and private sectors will contribute about $51,000 toward the program, the announcement said.

A list of community proposals and the Department’s final order are at www.regulations.gov, docket DOT-OST-2012-0069. A list of recipients and funding totals is available at www.dot.gov/affairs/2012/SCASDP.html.

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