Please call your United States Senators today and urge them to sign the letter below, which is being circulated by Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) requesting the FAA to keep the 149 contract towers open beyond June 15th.
IF YOUR SENATORS ARE NOT ON THE LETTER, PLEASE CALL THEIR OFFICES TODAY and ask them to sign on. Ask your Senate offices to contact Tom Bush in Senator Moran’s office (202/224-6521) to confirm their support or ask any questions. Please click here for phone numbers of your Senators.
At this time, the following Senators have signed the letter:
Blumenthal, Moran, Ayotte, Boozman, Cantwell, Hagan, Inhofe, Kaine, Kirk, Manchin, Murphy, Pryor, Risch, Roberts, Scott, Thune, Tom Udall, Vitter
Dear Secretary LaHood and Administrator Huerta:
As you know, Congress recently passed legislation giving the Secretary of Transportation the flexibility needed to avert air traffic controller furloughs and contract tower closures. We urge you to ensure that in addition to ending furloughs for 47,000 FAA employees, the agency also end the planned closure of 149 contract towers. This legislation gives FAA the flexibility and funding it needs to do both. Anything short of ending both the furloughs and contract tower closures would ignore the flexibility outlined in Section 2 (c). Our support of this legislation was based on the understanding that the contract towers would be fully funded.
While ending furloughs for tens of thousands of FAA personnel is a common sense decision due to the economic impact and flight delays caused, we are equally concerned about the status of the contract tower program. The contract tower program is a vital public safety and economic development asset for dozens of communities – many of them rural – in every corner of the country. These municipalities depend on the contract tower program to provide commercial and general aviation services, jobs, and in many cases, support for a variety of air ambulance facilities. The disruption that the combined closure of 149 contract towers would have starting June 15th would certainly go against the recently enacted legislation, which allows the U.S. Department of Transportation to “prevent reduced operations and staffing of the FAA during FY 2013 to ensure a safe and efficient air transportation system.”
In short, we strongly urge the FAA to use the legislation that passed Congress last week to fully fund the contract tower program. By providing up to $253 million in funding authority – far above the amount required to prevent furloughs – Congressional intent is clear: the FAA must prevent the slated closure of 149 contract towers by fully funding the contract tower program.