Rep. Bob Goodlatte's office news release
Congressman Bob Goodlatte released the following statement after leading a letter to FAA Administrator Huerta, Secretary of Transportation LaHood, and President Obama regarding the decision to close 149 air traffic control towers, many of which are located in smaller cities and rural communities, due to sequestration. The air traffic control tower at the Lynchburg Regional Airport is one of the towers that the FAA has slated for closure. Congressman Goodlatte was joined by 46 bipartisan Members of the U.S. House of Representatives who signed on in support of this request.
"The FAA's decision to close 149 air traffic control
towers brings into question whether the Administration used the appropriate
discretion to determine that cuts were made responsibly and safely. The
intent of sequestration was a shared burden. Closing these towers will
disproportionately impact rural communities and smaller cities, like Lynchburg.
I have been working closely with administrators at the Lynchburg Airport on
this issue and value their input moving forward. Record debt and deficits
mean federal spending must shrink; however, I will continue to urge the
Administration to ensure that cuts to services are made in a responsible and
fair manner that ensures the safety of rural aviators and smaller
communities. Our letter today makes it clear a bipartisan group within
Congress is urging the Administration to take immediate steps to avoid closure
of this tower and others across the nation."
Full letter to the FAA:
Administrator Michael P. Huerta
Federal Aviation Administration
800 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20591
Dear Administrator Huerta:
In early March, the Federal Aviation Administration proposed closing 189 contract air traffic control towers as part of its plan to meet budget sequestration. Just after this announcement was made, multiple letters were sent to both FAA and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood in an effort to highlight the devastating impacts these closures would have on mostly smaller cities and rural communities and to urge consideration of alternative cuts.
While FAA has reduced the number of closures to 149, it is disappointing that the Administration has failed to come up with a plan that would preserve some level of service for all air traffic control towers. The decision by FAA, DOT, and the Administration to close these 149 towers demonstrates a failure to responsibly and safely use the Executive discretion that the Administration is given under sequestration. A shared burden was the intention of sequestration; however, under FAA's current plan, these cuts will only be felt among smaller cities and rural communities. The closing of these towers will have drastic impacts on the smaller cities and rural communities these contract towers serve.
Again, we request for FAA to consider all possible alternatives that would maintain some level of service for all contract air towers and ensure air safety. These possible alternatives include other ways of reducing spending within the ATO account that would share the burden fairly across all programs, projects, and activities, as well as formally requesting a reprogramming of funds from Congressional appropriators. We expect a response as to how FAA and DOT will take immediate steps to avoid the closure of these 149 contract air traffic control towers.