KEYE-TV - Search Results
Central Texas Airports Bracing For Budget Cuts
Airport managers from across the state met in Austin on Friday for an emergency meeting on how to save their air traffic control towers.
On April 7 the federal government will cut off funds for 19 air traffic control towers at small and medium airports across Texas.
"When the FAA terminates that contract those towers would go away, and the thinking is if that funding isn't somehow generated those towers would probably never re-open," said Chairman of the Texas Aviation Advisory Committee Gordon Richardson.
The towers are part of the FAA's contract tower program, in which they are staffed with contractors instead of FAA employees.
On the list are local airports in New Braunfels, Waco, Georgetown, and San Marcos.
"It's a safety issue, were always safe but this brings another layer of safety to us that we may lose," said East Texas Regional Airport Director Roy Miller JR. "As for the economic development issue, folks may or may not come to your airport if that tower is not operating."
The airport managers and staff are looking to work together and pool resources for the common goal of keeping the towers open.
Some warn there could be safety issues not only to the people in the planes and on the ground, but the public's safety.
"This is a big deal," said Texas Department of Transportation Aviation Director David Fulton. "It's a big deal for them, it's a big deal for safety, and it's a big deal for economic development."
The different representatives are searching for ways to get state congressional representatives on board.
There is still time, and airports locally and across the country are working with U.S. senators on an amendment that would restore half of the funding to keep the towers open.
By Adam Racusin