Today, Congressman Kenny Marchant (TX-24), whose district includes Dallas/ Fort Worth International Airport, sent the following letter addressing his concerns over the recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic controller furloughs to Administrator Michael P. Huerta:
April 24, 2013
The Honorable Michael P. Huerta
Federal Aviation Administration
800 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20591
Dear Administrator Huerta:
I am writing to you regarding the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) recently announced furloughs of air traffic controllers. I am honored to represent one of the busiest airports in the world, Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW). DFW is the life blood of my Congressional district and an economic engine for North Texas. I am very concerned that recent actions by the FAA will impair economic growth and cause needless frustrations for the traveling public.
Though the FAA had a significant amount of advance notice to implement budget cuts, the FAA gave the airlines and traveling public only a few days to plan for travel interruptions. Additionally, the FAA has not provided any rational basis for explaining its judgment in assigning furloughs to certain controllers. Across the board furloughs for our air traffic control system does not make sense, especially when no preference is given to large airports or highly traveled air corridors that require more controllers than lesser used airports or air corridors.
I am very concerned that the FAA continues to fund programs that are not directly essential to ensuring the safety of the traveling public, while at the same time issuing furloughs to air traffic controllers. The FAA's continued high spending on consultants, supplies, and employee travel are ripe for being reduced in lieu of furloughing air traffic controllers. The FAA has $2.7 billion in non-personnel operations costs. I would appreciate hearing from you regarding ways that the FAA can reduce its $2.7 billion non-personnel operations costs that would meet deficit reduction targets without impacting the traveling public.
As you are aware, FAA's funding has increased more than 100% since 1996, yet domestic flights are down 27% since 2000. The American people demand value for their hard earned taxpayer dollars and should not be subject to needless flight delays. I call on the FAA to use its vested authority to immediately rescind the furloughs of air traffic controllers and replace the budget savings with reductions to the agency's non-personnel operations costs.
Thank you for your attention to this request and I look forward to your prompt response. Should you have any questions regarding this correspondence, please feel free to contact me, or my Legislative Director, Scott Cunningham.
Member of Congress