News Releases

Mar 12 2013

Sen. Moran to Introduce Amendment to Protect Contract Tower Program

Irresponsible sequestration cuts to program will put the flying public at risk, impair access to rural areas, jeopardize national and civil security missions, and cost jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran is poised to introduce an amendment to the Senate Continuing Resolution (CR) that will stop the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) planned funding cuts to air traffic control towers – including seven towers in Kansas. The FAA Contract Tower Program serves airports that otherwise would not have air traffic control services. Irresponsible cuts from sequestration will put the flying public at risk, impair access to rural areas, jeopardize national and civil security missions, and cost jobs. Sen. Moran’s amendment comes on the heels of a Kansas Congressional Delegation letter to U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta opposing the planned funding cuts.

“I am strongly opposed to the FAA’s plan to target air traffic control towers across the country, including the 189 towers that are included in the Contract Tower Program, and today joined the entire Kansas delegation expressing my concern to Secretary LaHood and FAA Administrator Huerta.” Sen. Moran said. “I am taking this fight a step further by introducing an amendment to the CR to protect these contract towers. I am committed to aviation in rural America and know firsthand the importance of maintaining commercial air service in communities across Kansas. I am also frustrated that the Administration has decided to once again play politics that could negatively impact our state’s economic future.”

A report published last summer by the Inspector General for the DOT found that the Contract Tower Program was one of the most efficiently run programs in the FAA. The report also showed the specified towers in the FAA Contract Tower Program were all operational in 2009, when the FAA received less funding than they will under the sequestration.

Given the success of the Contract Tower Program and its importance to Kansas and national aerospace safety, Sen. Moran believes the FAA should focus its cuts elsewhere.

Sen. Moran’s amendment would withdraw $50 million in unobligated FAA research and capital funds from prior appropriations bills. The $50 million is based on Administrator Huerta’s statement when testifying to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he stated that the FAA’s plan to close 173 contract towers on April 7 will save up to $50 million.

Sen. Moran’s amendment is supported by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association and aviation industry groups.

Click here to read the full letter to U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta opposing the planned funding cuts.

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