Residents question lawmakers about airport route restoration, Ellsworth development bills

RAPID CITY, S.D. — South Dakota lawmakers were questioned by residents at a cracker barrel on Saturday about the importance of two bills under consideration in Pierre.

The first bill discussed would help fund airport route restoration. Some routes have been suspended because of fewer people flying during the pandemic.

That bill was approved by the Senate on Thursday – “crossover day” – and is headed to the House.

However, the second bill, which would have helped pay for infrastructure supporting Ellsworth Air Force Base, was not moved on crossover day and is now deferred.

Residents are concerned that not enough importance is being put on the growth of Ellsworth.

But State Senators Chris Johnson and David Johnson say their bills are not prioritized – and the concern is what the state can actually afford to see through.

“It’s absolutely important to me, and I think to all of you, that we restore our air service in Rapid City. It’s also important that the air service gets restored in Sioux Falls. We have an opportunity here to restore it quicker than other states restore theirs if we spend our money wisely and attract new airlines, new routes, while South Dakota is at the peak of interest nationwide to travel to,” Johnson said.

The Ellsworth bill may still have some life – its scheduled for another hearing tomorrow.

Categories: Local News, Politics & Elections, South Dakota News