U.S. Senator Jerry Moran, a leading advocate in the Senate for protecting Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Contract Control Towers from sequestration cuts, released the following statement today on Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's announcement that air traffic controller furloughs -- which start Sunday -- will force delays at airports across the country:
"The Administration's insistence on deliberately inconveniencing air travelers instead of prioritizing their safety falls right in line with its history of putting politics before common sense," Sen. Moran said. "The FAA's recent action of delaying the 149 contract control tower closures indicates what we have known all along: the agency's financial state is not as dire as initially projected. They do have flexibility when it comes to sequestration. Savings can and should be found elsewhere, and the Senate stands ready to work with them on a bipartisan basis to find a solution, but they refuse to come to the table. I am baffled by the Administration's continued insistence on putting its top-line message -- that we can't cut a dime without severe consequences -- before the safety and well-being of Americans."
Sen. Moran continues the fight to protect FAA contract towers and has brought together a bipartisan coalition of Senators committed to finding more responsible ways to cut spending than by compromising safety. He and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) introduced the Protect Our Skies Act, legislation to protect air traffic control towers and preserve aviation safety across America. The legislation, which boasts 33 bipartisan cosponsors, would prohibit the Department of Transportation from closing any air traffic control towers during FY 2013 or 2014, including those that are operated by the FAA.
The Protect Our Skies Act is supported by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), National Air Transportation Association (NATA) and numerous aviation industry groups.