– Today, at the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies hearing, U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) questioned Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta on the Administration’s decision to disproportionately target FAA Contract Control Towers with sequestration cuts. Administrator Huerta said he did not have the authority to use unobligated funds to keep the towers open – authority Sen. Moran’s blocked amendment to the Continuing Resolution (CR) would have given the FAA. The Obama Administration opposed allowing the Senate to vote on Sen. Moran’s amendment – which had strong bipartisan support – for unknown reasons.
Sen. Moran continues the fight to protect FAA contract towers and has brought together a bipartisan coalition of Senators committed to finding more responsible ways to cut spending than by compromising safety. He and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) introduced the Protect Our Skies Act, legislation to protect air traffic control towers and preserve aviation safety across America. The legislation, which boasts 32 bipartisan cosponsors, would prohibit the Department of Trenasportation from closing any air traffic control towers during FY 2013 or 2014, including those that are operated by the FAA.
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 sequestratio
The Protect Our Skies Act is supported by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), National Air Transportation Association (NATA) and numerous aviation industry groups.