Congresswoman Lois Frankel has signed onto a bipartisan bill to help ensure the Boca Raton Air Traffic control tower stays open and avoid closure due to mandatory across the board budget cuts known as sequestration.
The Air Traffic Control Tower Funding Restoration Act (HR 1432) would protect nearly 150 airport air traffic control towers from closure including at Boca Raton Airport without requiring additional funding. The bill sponsored by Congressmen Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Richard Hudson (R-North Carolina) shifts money from the FAA's budget for facilities and research to fund the tower program.
"This legislation will keep Boca Raton and other local airport towers across the country operating without additional cost to the federal budget," Frankel said. "Hopefully Congress will act soon to end the budget squabbling that led to this situation."
Boca Airport is located adjacent to I-95 in a highly populated area near residential neighborhoods, Florida Atlantic University, and active commercial properties. The control tower helps ensure the safety of planes taking off and landing at the airport and the surrounding community.
The estimated local annual economic impact of the Boca Raton airport is $154 million. This includes the direct economic impacts of the tenants and businesses at the airport and construction projects that are undertaken at the airport. The airport and businesses on the property support over 1,200 jobs.
On Friday April 5, the FAA announced it would temporarily postpone the closure of the Boca Raton Airport Tower and almost 150 towers around the country until June 15.
Airport officials have estimated it would cost $650,000 to take over tower operations at the Boca Raton Airport from the FAA. The FAA is being forced to trim $637 million from the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, resulting in the furlough of employees and closing 149 airport control towers across the country.