U.S. Representative Richard Hanna today called on the U.S. Department of Transportation to ensure the contract control tower at Griffiss International Airport remains open.
Rep. Hanna and 82 Members of Congress sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood urging the Department and the Federal Aviation Administration to use unobligated funds made available through the "Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013," which was recently signed into law, to prevent the closure of 149 contract air traffic control towers nationwide.
The Administration currently plans to close the contract tower at Griffiss in Rome on June 15.
"Congress has given the Administration more than enough funding flexibility to keep the tower at Griffiss open for the rest of the fiscal year," Rep. Hanna said. "The tower at Griffiss is an asset to our community and it helps support jobs in the Mohawk Valley. The Administration can and must keep it open."
Congress has directed this reprogramming of funds by law. The letter states, "Maintaining service at all contract air towers is intrinsic to the authority granted in this law to ensure a safe and efficient air transportation system."
Rep. Hanna and the 82 cosigners of the letter said they hope to hear very soon how the DOT and FAA will take immediate steps to keep the 149 contract towers open.
Here is the text of the letter:
In light of the President's recent signing of the Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013, we write to urge you to utilize the authority in the Act to ensure the safety of our nation's air transportation system by preventing the closure of 149 contract air traffic control towers.
This legislation gives the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Transportation flexibility to use unobligated funds to ensure the safety of our nation's air transportation system. The unobligated funds of the Airport Improvement Program account made available to the FAA through this legislation should be used to prevent the closure of the 149 contract air traffic control towers as well as halt the furloughs of our air traffic controllers.
Our nation's air transportation system is a comprehensive network of intertwined facilities, with air traffic control towers serving in the important role of helping pilots and their crews safely guide their aircraft between airports. Maintaining service at all contract air towers is intrinsic to the authority granted in this law to ensure a safe and efficient air transportation system.
Many Members of Congress expressed concerns regarding FAA's decision to close 149 contract air traffic control towers. To ensure responsible action by FAA and DOT, and to ensure the safety and efficiency of our skies, the Congress has directed this reprogramming of funds by law. We expect to hear very soon how the FAA and DOT will take immediate steps to fund the 149 contract air traffic control towers.