I did a search for this and was surprised I didn't find any results.
In any event, the Bush Administration is proposing significant changes to the FAA's Essential Air Service (EAS) program. Under the current program, small airports that had service in 1978 (the year of deregulation) can get federal funding to keep a minimal level of service, provided that the airport is more than 100 miles from the nearest major airport.
Under the Bush Administration proposal, the limit would be expanded to something around 150. Small airports that are within 150 miles would lose a significant amount of their federal subsidy for air service. Airports within 100 miles of a major airport would lose all subsidies. Some airports would have the option of providing their own subsidies with some federal assistance, but these airports have said this proposal would effectively eliminate air service. In an article I saw, Brownwood, TX (BWD) was concerned about losing its three daily Mesa flights to DFW under the program. (the article is here: http://www.reporter-news.com/abil/nw_business/article/0,1874,ABIL_7948_2647870,00.html)
Personally, I think the Bush Administration proposal is a good idea. If you're 150 miles from a major airport, there's no reason why your city should get taxpayer dollars to subsidize air service. Driving is not at all out of the question. Given the budget situation we have, I don't see how these subsidies can be justified. Any other thoughts?