Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-4) is co-sponsoring bipartisan legislation to restore funding for contractor-operated air traffic control towers in Columbia and more than 140 other locations across the country. The towers were targeted for closure as a result of sequestration cuts.
"The decision to close the contractor-operated control towers in Columbia and elsewhere presents safety concerns and makes no sense from a cost perspective," said Hartzler. "A 2011 report by the Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General shows contract towers cost on average $537,000 a year to operate, compared with $2 million for comparably busy FAA-staffed towers."
"These towers are cost-effective," continued Hartzler. "Yet, they are being forced to bear a disproportionate share of the sequestration cuts. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is cutting 75 percent from the Contract Tower fund when sequestration only requires a 5 percent reduction. The FAA got this wrong."
"This bill reprioritizes funding within the current FAA budget to restore funding to the contract tower program for the duration of FY 2013. I am glad to be a part of this fight, because preserving jobs while protecting the safety of America's flying public is the right thing to do."
The control tower in Columbia and those at dozens of other airports are scheduled to close on June 15.
Congresswoman Hartzler serves on the House Budget, Armed Services, and Agriculture Committees.