News Releases

Sen. Moran Statement on FAA Contract Tower Closure List

"The Administration's decision to shutter these air traffic control towers is short-sighted and dangerous.Closing control towers is equivalent to removing stop lights and stop signs from our roads."

Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released their final list of 149 contract control towers that will close beginning April 7, 2013, as a result of being targeted for sequestration cuts disproportionate to other agencies. Sen. Moran has fought the Administration to save these air traffic control towers from closure – which will put the safety of Americans in jeopardy – but was blocked from bringing his amendment to the Continuing Resolution (CR) up for a vote even though he had 26 bi-partisan Senate co-sponsors.

"The Administration’s decision to shutter these air traffic control towers is short-sighted and dangerous," Sen. Moran said. "Closing control towers is equivalent to removing stop lights and stop signs from our roads. It is clear that this Administration is putting its top-line message, that spending cannot be cut without severe consequences, before the safety and well-being of Americans.

"Although my amendment to the CR to save the control towers and protect public safety was blocked, this fight is not over," Sen. Moran continued. "The Contract Tower Program is one of the most efficiently-run programs in the FAA, and it should be protected from an arbitrary and unfair 75 percent cut. I will continue my work to make certain the Administration puts the safety of air travelers first, and will actively encourage the FAA reconsider its decision. I have already spoken to the Chairperson of the Appropriations Committee to seek out other avenues to protect the 149 control towers slated for closure."

Kansas Air Traffic Control facilities that are on the final closure list include: Philip Billard Municipal in Topeka; Hutchinson Municipal in Hutchinson; New Century Air Center in Olathe; Johnson County Executive in Olathe; and Manhattan Regional in Manhattan.

The FAA removed 24 federal contract towers from the closure list that had been previously proposed for closure, including Forbes Field in Topeka and Garden City Regional in Garden City. Both airports submitted a waiver request to the FAA and were consequently removed from the closure list after it was determined their closure would have a negative impact on the national interest.

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.

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

Click here to learn more about Sen. Moran’s amendment to the Continuing Resolution (CR) which would have stopped the planned FAA funding cuts to 179 air traffic control towers in 42 states.

Click here to read an Associated Press story titled “Trouble in the air,” which discusses the safety issues Americans face with control tower closures.

Click here to watch Sen. Moran demand that the Administration put public safety ahead of political messaging.

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