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Public Statements

Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. REED. I would like to thank the gentleman from Iowa for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the underlying bill.

Before I make my comments, I would just ask my colleague, a good friend of mine from Maryland, we have an opportunity today to send a signal to America that we have a bicameral, a Senate-passed bill, and here in the House we are considering a bill that will address an issue that needs to be addressed on behalf of American citizens. Let us start here on a bipartisan fashion to solve the problems for hardworking taxpayers and worry about D.C. over those concerns of the people back home.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the underlying bill because I have heard from my constituents, in particular, the city of Ithaca in upstate New York, where a contract tower is going to be closed. And what this bill does is it restores that funding on a commonsense basis where that contract tower--my sincere hope and belief--will be preserved and go forward. That will preserve the safety of my air-traveling public out of that airport and also the local economic opportunity that it represents for the city of Ithaca.

I'm proud to stand here today and say, because of bipartisan efforts, we worked together to solve this issue. Let's pass this bill and move forward.

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Mr. REED. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of legislation to give the Federal Aviation Administration, FAA, and Department of Transportation, DOT, flexibility to use unobligated funds to ensure the safety of our nation's air transportation system and American travelers. Specifically I rise to affirm the intent of this legislation that grants the Secretary of Transportation the ability to use unobligated balances of the Airport Improvement Program account to prevent the closure of 149 contract air traffic control towers and halt the furloughs of air traffic controllers.

Maintaining service at all contract air traffic control towers is inherent to the authority given in this legislation to ensure a safe and efficient air transportation system. Over the past seven weeks, Congress has seen a swell of reaction to the FAA's decision to furlough and lay off hundreds of air traffic controllers across the country. In my district in New York, it was announced that the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport control tower would be closed. Since this announcement, residents, local businesses, and employees at the airport have flooded my office with feedback that this closure will have serious safety and long-term economic impacts in the region.

Many Members of Congress as well as industry representatives who utilize our nation's general aviation system have expressed grave concerns over the closure of contract towers and furloughs of air traffic controllers, both of which contribute to the overall safety of our nation's air transportation system. The inaction of the Department of Transportation to request sequester reprogramming authority and maintain some level of service at all contract towers is unacceptable and has led to the need for this legislation. The safety and efficiency of our skies have been put at risk and it has become incumbent upon the Congress to direct this authority to the Secretary of Transportation.

I look forward to working with the FAA and DOT to ensure that the Ithaca Tompkins control tower, as well as the other 148 towers across the country, remain up and running to ensure our skies are safe.

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