Washington, DC -- U.S. Representative Tom Rooney (FL-17) today voted in favor of legislation approved by the House of Representatives to give the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) the flexibility to prevent furloughs of air traffic controllers and avoid flight delays.
The bill also enables DOT to restore funding to contract towers, including the new air traffic control tower at Punta Gorda Airport.
"Our bill ensures that FAA can restore funding to contract towers at smaller airports, like our new control tower in Punta Gorda," Rooney said. "FAA needs to cut waste and utilize unspent accounts before threatening to close towers, hurt local economies, and compromise traveler safety. This bill is a victory for Punta Gorda and for travelers across the country."
"For two months, I have been urging the Obama Administration to implement the sequester spending levels by cutting wasteful, unnecessary spending, not vital services. While some departments and agencies have exercised this flexibility, others have claimed their hands are tied. I'm still not sure how the Administration claims that some departments can use common sense and others can't, but this bill makes absolutely explicit that FAA and DOT have the flexibility to avoid furloughing air traffic controllers and causing massive flight delays."
The bill permits the FAA to transfer $253 million in FY 2013 to air traffic controller salaries and expenses, thus negating the necessity for further furloughs of controllers through the end of the fiscal year. The bill permits DOT Secretary LaHood to do additional transfers within FAA accounts, allowing him to restore funding to FAA contract towers.