U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross (FL-15) issued the following statement regarding the Federal Aviation Administration's announcement today that they will close the Control Tower at Lakeland Linder Airport:
"Throughout the past few weeks we have repeatedly requested a meeting with the FAA Administrator and we continue to be ignored. I understand the need to make cuts. However, instead of these arbitrary across-the-board cuts which have devastating impacts on entire communities, we must cut waste, fraud, and abuse like the $500 million that the FAA spends on consultants or the $200 million that it spends on office supplies and employee travel.
"The state's largest convention, SUN 'n FUN, which is held in April at Lakeland Linder Airport, not only provides incredible economic value to Lakeland, but it serves our children by investing $1.4 million dollars annually in education. It is unacceptable to close this important control tower. Sun N Fun will now have to pay the FAA $284,000 in order to keep this control tower functioning during the convention. This is more money that they must raise that will not go to help our children who are struggling in school."
-Rep. Ross Secretary LaHood announced February 22, 2013 that the Department of Transportation will close more than 100 of its air traffic control facilities in April if the sequestration took effect. Lakeland Linder Regional Airport's Air Traffic Control Tower is operated under the FAA's Federal Contract Tower Program.
-Ross voted against the bill that enacted sequestration. Once it was enacted, he voted twice to replace the sequester with responsible cuts and also introduced a bill (H.R. 239) that would change how the federal government spends the people's money.
-The sequester (across-the-board cuts) was enacted starting March 1, 2013.
-Today, March 22, the FAA announced that the Lakeland Linder Airport's control tower will be closed.