Vallier said CREW's facts were outdated.
When he learned of the group's letter, he contacted the Department of Transportation -- and quickly learned that the DOT had never heard of CREW.
"Their reaction was, 'Whatever,'" Vallier said. "I think these are just people who are out to get (Rogers)."
Claims in CREW's letter are, in fact, outdated. Sloan's statement that the airport "sat empty" for three years is unclear at best, and her letter neglects to mention that Locair now makes stops in five cities -- not two. The letter also fails to define how often the local airport is used, only calling it "little-used."
The Commonwealth Journal contacted Sloan Friday in an attempt to clear up some of the letter's claims.
"We've been following Mr. Rogers for a long time," Sloan said, "watching the amount of money he spends on projects of dubious utility."
CREW named Rep. Rogers to it's "15 most corrupt list" in 2007 and 2008.
Sloan said "questions were raised" about Lake Cumberland Regional Airport based on the small number of flights there and on the fact that most of the flights depart for Washington, D.C.
Vallier said some 200-250 individuals per month use Lake Cumberland Regional Airport to fly to Nashville International Airport, Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport, Baltimore/Washington International Airport, and Washington Dulles International Airport -- as well as a flagstop in Beckley, W.Va. Those who use the airline service appreciate the free parking and the fact that there isn't a long drive to Nashville, Louisville or Lexington involved. Also, Vallier noted, the regional airport doesn't only serve Somerset and Pulaski County's populations. The local airport is used by travelers from surrounding counties, and many college students have been using the facility as well.
"(The relatively low air fares) make it affordable for a sector that would not travel by air otherwise," Vallier said. "In June, July and August, 630 passengers used the Somerset airport. When you look at the Essential Air Service bid, that's more than every market listed."
The Essential Air Service program was put into place to guarantee that small communities that were served by certificated air carriers before deregulation maintain a minimal level of scheduled air service. The Department currently subsidizes commuter airlines to serve approximately 140 rural communities across the country that otherwise would not receive any scheduled air service.
"If they think we've got 15,000 people here who never need to get anywhere, they're wrong," Vallier continued.
Sloan argued that 250 customers per month doesn't constitute a "well-used" airport.
"It would be one thing if people were actually flying from there, but 250 people a month doesn't pay for the airport. Federal money pays to keep it going," she said.
Sloan said Sen. DeMint should not just seek to end funding to one airport.
"Why just that one?" she asked. "The only difference is that one is funded by a Democrat and one is funded by a Republican. There is no logical distinction that can be drawn between Somerset, Ky., and Johnstown, Pa."
Sloan said she wasn't sure of the population size of either town.
"They are similar," she said. "It's safe to say neither is a major metropolitan area."
Sloan said statements she made in her letter were drawn from "recent press clips from local media" and admitted she wasn't sure if there was new information available from the time the original articles were written.
The articles used by Sloan were published by the McClatchy Washington Bureau and the Associated Press -- neither of which are based in the Lake Cumberland area -- and were released in January and May of this year.
When asked what she meant in her letter when she said the local airport "sat empty," Sloan said, "It apparently sat empty, meaning that it wasn't working."
Mar. 4 -- St. Louis air service to resume Regions Air says it has satisfied FAA DECATUR -- Regions Air on Saturday temporarily grounded flights out of St. Louis to nine cities...
Commercial air service to Enid and Ponca City will end Aug. 31 after the U.S. Transportation Department announced it will stop paying a subsidy to the airline that provided flights.
Commercial air service to the cities will end Aug. 31, as the U.S. Transportation Department will stop paying a subsidy to the airline that provided flights.
Watertown International Airport would lose about $585,000 in annual subsidies under a Federal Aviation Administration's proposal to eliminate subsidies for communities within 100 miles of a small...