Just saw an interesting article from Yahoo about funding for the Essential Air Service program. Apparently it's getting a lot more funding, including for some reason routes like Buffalo NY to Jamestown NY, which isn't more than a 90 minute drive.
There's definitely a need for these services for many areas, but it sounds like there's a bit of waste involved as well.
Also in the article is a mention of another $4 billion of federal funding for high speed rail, in addition to the $8 billion set aside in the stimulus package. Hopefully Washington and Oregon can get enough of that to significantly speed up the Cascades route. I know Washington's mostly ready to go, but Oregon probably has dragged our feet too long to get much.