Congressman Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) sent a letter to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta in support of maintaining the midnight to 6:00 a.m. Air Traffic Control services at the Toledo Air Traffic Control Tower.
"A loss of Air Traffic Control services for any period of time would be detrimental to the livelihood of businesses that depend upon the services provided by the tower at all times. These businesses provide emergency medical transport, cargo and refueling, as well as "just in time" inventory to the area's critical automotive industry," Latta wrote.
In addition to affecting local economic development, the closure of the Toledo Air Traffic Control Tower would have impacts on Ohio Air National Guard's 180th Fighter Wing, which has a 24-hour homeland-security mission.
"Instead of looking for responsible ways to minimize the pain of budget cuts, the FAA has chosen to follow the Administration's political message that spending cuts cannot be achieved without severe consequences to the safety and well-being of Americans," said Congressman Latta. "It's difficult for me to believe that Air Traffic Control Tower closures supersede cuts to the FAA's $500 million budget for consultants and $200 million budget for travel and conferences. I urge the FAA and the Administration to evaluate other responsible options to attaining budget reductions and to provide information on other alternatives that were considered to mitigate the sequester's effect."
The FAA is currently conducting a study to evaluate the services that are provided at the Toledo Air Traffic Control Tower, including "traffic densities, hours of operation, staffing levels, equipment requirements.' The study is expected to conclude by the middle of April 2013.
The full text of the letter is below:
March 29, 2013
Mr. Michael Huerta
Federal Aviation Administration
800 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20591
Dear Administrator Huerta:
I am writing in support of Air Traffic Control (ATC) services at the Toledo Air Traffic Control Tower. I understand that the FAA is studying these services to determine the effects a closure may have between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.
A loss of ATC services for any period of time would be detrimental to the livelihood of businesses that depend upon the services provided by the tower at all times. These businesses provide emergency medical transport, cargo and refueling, as well as "just in time" inventory to the area's critical automotive industry. Toledo is also the primary diversion airport should aircraft be unable to land in Detroit due to weather conditions. The loss of this opportunity would jeopardize air safety and revenue generation for local businesses.
In addition, the cessation of ATC services in Toledo would have a detrimental effect on national security. The 180th Air National Guard Base could no longer operate at peak readiness levels. The unit includes an aerospace control alert mission and must be capable of deploying anywhere in the world within minimum response time. The 180th Air National Guard Base, and its F-16 mission, is extremely important to Ohio and the country. Therefore, to ensure that its key national and homeland security mission is not lost, 24-hour ATC operations must be preserved.
There are several safety issues that would arise should the Cleveland Air TrafficControl Center be tasked with providing services to aircraft traveling through Toledo airspace. For the 180th, an arresting cable that is normally controlled by the tower would have to be manually lifted, causing a degraded alert response time. In addition, local traffic may not be cleared on the tarmac creating a severe safety issue for the 180th pilots, line service personnel, and, to a larger extent, the general public. Furthermore, the runway lighting would be permanently set to medium causing a safety risk for all aircraft flying in inclement weather.
As you are aware, local airports, such as Toledo, provide a vital service to our rural communities. Without the ability to promote full airport operations, the likelihood of businesses developing or expanding at these airports significantly decreases economic development opportunities.
In light of the aforementioned facts, I urge you to continue the essential Air Traffic Control services at the Toledo Air Traffic Control Tower at all times.
Robert E. Latta
Member of Congress