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Houston Chronicle - As Sequester Hits Home, Rep. Farenthold Fights Texas Airport Closures

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By Joanna Raines

As the consequences of the federal budget sequester begins to bite, lawmakers are beginning to bark.

At President Obama.

Case in point: Texas Republicans' response to the FAA's release last week of a list of 149 federal contract towers that would be closed because of the sequester. Under the sequestration plan, the FAA is required to cut $637 million.

In Texas, the affected airports are:

New Braunfels Municipal
Brownsville/South Padre Island International
Easterwood Field in College Station
TSTC Waco
Lonestar Executive in Houston
Georgetown Municipal
San Marcos Municipal
Dallas Executive
Sugar Land Regional
Stinson Municiple in San Antonio
Collin County Regional at McKinney
Tyler Pounds Regional
Victoria Regional
The closures will happen in four stages, beginning April 7.

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi
That didn't please Texas Republicans. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi, sent a letter to FAA head Michael Huerta protesting the decision.

"I am deeply troubled for your public statements and proposed actions regarding the effect of the sequester on smaller, local airports. These airports have long played a vital role in economies across the country," Farenthold said.

Farenthold represents Victoria, and he says that closing the Victoria Regional Airport will negatively affect the city of Victoria and the surrounding region.

In a statement accompanying the closure list, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the FAA had heard from communities about the importance of the towers, and it was a very tough decision.

"Unfortunately we are faced with a series of difficult choices that we have to make to reach the required cuts under sequestration," LaHood said.


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