Illinois lawmakers defend money spent on failed Moline to D.C. flights

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MOLINE, Illinois — Lawmakers are defending the money spent on the failed Washington, D.C. flight out of Moline, Illinois. News 8's Christina Hepner spoke with lawmakers about why they say it wasn't a waste of money.

"I want it to work," said Sen. Dick Durbin. But after five months the flight from Washington, D.C. to Moline will end, like it has in many other similar communities.

"I have been involved with this over and over and over in my hometown of Springfield, Bloomington, you pick it, we have tried these long distance flights not to vacation destinations, long distance business flights  and everyone of them's failed," said Durbin.

Durbin said he knew from the beginning that there was a chance it could fail.

"It is so hard to put together the passengers to make it work and many times you don't get the cooperation of the airlines they end up scheduling it at very difficult times to sell to people," said Durbin.

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos said she took the flight almost every week but that not everyone was able to afford it.

"The cost of the flights was over 600 dollars to use the direct routing and to go through Chicago was a little over 300 so really for us it wasn't cost effective," said Steve Beck, AFGE Local 15 President.

More than $1 Million federal and state dollars was invested into this project and Bustos says that the financial problems go way beyond this flight.

"Well the states not paying it's bills period, they're turning away domestic violence victims at the doors of domestic violence shelters, they're not paying map grants to make sure our younger generation can go to college," said Bustos.

The Chamber of Commerce pushed for it for 10 years. President Tara Barney says the flights are still very important to the Arsenal.

"We're gonna keep working and use this experience to look at the next option so maybe it's 3 days a week maybe we can find other options that are gonna reach our demand," said Barney.

The direct flights will officially stop at the beginning of June 2016.

A spokesperson for the Quad Cities Airport says they are interested in getting another carrier for the flight.