FAA will keep small airport towers open - Tucson News Now

Small airport control towers to stay open through September

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Air traffic control towers that were slated to close because of sequester cuts will stay open a little longer. Air traffic control towers that were slated to close because of sequester cuts will stay open a little longer.

(RNN) - Small airport towers that faced closure due to sequestration received another reprieve from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement on Friday that there is enough money to keep the towers open through the end of the fiscal year. Due to furloughs and cuts, the towers were to close June 15.

The extra money came from the recently enacted Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013 passed by Congress on April 25 after long lines and delays due to furloughs at airports across the country.

The bill allows the Federal Aviation Administration to transfer money to "end employee furloughs and keep the 149 low activity contract towers originally slated for closure in June open for the remainder of fiscal year 2013." The FAA still must cut $637 million from its budget, but now it has more leeway to determine from where in the budget the agency can cut.

The fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

The closures and furloughs were a result of sequestration – the $85 billion in spending cuts that went into effect on March 1 after Congress did not pass a budget.

LaHood's statement reads:

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced today that DOT has determined that the recently enacted Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013 will allow the FAA to transfer sufficient funds to end employee furloughs and keep the 149 low activity contract towers originally slated for closure in June open for the remainder of fiscal year 2013. The FAA will also put $10 million towards reducing cuts and delays in core NextGen programs and will allocate approximately $11 million to partially restore the support of infrastructure in the national airspace system.

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