Cantwell, Bipartisan Senate Coalition Work to Keep Contract Towers Open

Source: KAPP

KAPP TV - Dan Thesman

WASHINGTON,  D.C. – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) joined a bipartisan coalition of 41  senators in urging the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal  Aviation Administration (FAA) to use the flexibility provided by legislation  passed last week to stop the planned closure of 149 contract towers – including  five in Washington state.

Cantwell – the  Chairwoman of the Senate Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and  Security – joined her colleagues in calling for the towers to remain open past  next month. Without action, the 149 towers are slated for closure on June 15.  The five Washington state towers slated for closure are: Renton Municipal  Airport, Tacoma Narrows Airport, Yakima Air Terminal/McAllister Field, Felts  Field in Spokane, and Olympia Regional Airport.

The  Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013 passed the U.S. Senate on April 25  and the U.S. House on April 26, and was signed into law by President Obama on  May 1. It allows the FAA to transfer up to $253 million in funding from other  accounts within the department to the FAA in order to end the furloughs for  47,000 FAA employees and end the planned closure of 149 contract  towers.

In a letter sent Thursday  to DOT Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, the senators  stated that Congressional intent of the legislation was for the contract towers  to remain open, in order to ensure a “safe and efficient air transportation  system” as the legislation outlines.