U. S. Rep. Dennis Ross (FL-15) co-sponsored legislation that would restore funding to all 149 contractor-operated air traffic control towers that have been slated to lose their funding, including the one at Lakeland Linder Airport. H.R. 1432, the Air Traffic Control Tower Funding Restoration Act, would restore funding to these towers by utilizing unused funds within the FAA's budget for the remaining of the 2013 fiscal year. This bill would not increase taxes or borrowing to fund these towers.
"The FAA has ignored my repeated requests to meet so that we can find solutions," said Ross. "This bill will keep towers like the one at Lakeland Airport funded through September 30 until we can find a long-term solution. I have long said that the FAA needs to find other cost-saving measures in lieu of shutting down towers like the one at Lakeland Airport."
* This bill will fund the towers through Fiscal Year 2013, which ends September 30, 2013.
o Secretary LaHood announced February 22, 2013 that the Department of Transportation will close more than 100 of its air traffic control facilities in April if sequestration took effect. Lakeland Linder Regional Airport's Air Traffic Control Tower is operated under the FAA's Federal Contract Tower Program.
o Ross voted against the bill that enacted sequestration. Once it was enacted, he voted twice to replace the sequester with responsible cuts and also introduced a bill (H.R. 239) that would change how the federal government spends the people's money.
o The sequester (across-the-board cuts) was enacted starting March 1, 2013.
o On March 22, the FAA announced that the Lakeland Linder Airport's control tower will be closed.
o April 5, 2013, the FAA announced that they will postpone all contract tower closings until June 15.