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Letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Raymond Lahood - Postpone Plan To Close Federal Contract Air Traffic Control Towers


Location: Washington, DC

April 4, 2013

The Honorable Raymond H. LaHood
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20950

Dear Secretary LaHood:

While we continue to call on President Obama to work with Congress to immediately eliminate sequester, we urge you to postpone closures of the federal contract towers until we reach the outcome of these discussions.

We are well aware of the challenges the U.S. Department of Transportation faces because of sequester, especially the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Sequester was never supposed to happen. Chairwoman Mikulski tried to include language in the Continuing Resolution that would have given domestic agencies flexibility to shift an additional one percent of funds to help mitigate the most harmful impacts of sequester, such as the problem the FAA is currently facing with these contract towers. Unfortunately, this authority was not included in the final bill.

As you know, there are five towers scheduled to close in Maryland later this month and in May: Easton / Newnam Field; Frederick Municipal; Hagerstown Regional; Martin State; and Salisbury-Ocean City: Wicomico Regional. We strongly believe all five should remain open because of national security. Martin State serves the Maryland National Guard. Easton and Salisbury are home to medevac units for the Maryland State Police. The U.S. Coast Guard operates out of Easton and the airport is put on standby during Presidential and Congressional events. In addition, closing the Frederick and Hagerstown towers will prevent the President and other dignitaries from using these airports as a transfer point to Camp David.

We also urge you to take another look at the adverse economic impact of closing the Maryland towers. The peak spring and summer season is fast approaching. The closures will jeopardize the economic security of these communities and counties.

You have our word that we will continue to fight to put an end to sequester. In the interim, we would appreciate your prompt attention to our request.


Benjamin L. Cardin
United States Senator

Barbara A. Mikulski
United States Senator

C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger
Member of Congress

John Delaney
Member of Congress

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