Talk of sequestration in recent months has given Federal officials literary license in describing disastrous consequences that would starve the poor, create mayhem in the streets and cause planes to fall from the sky if the government were made to make modest budgetary cuts.
But Texas, in handling the defunding of 13 air traffic control towers, is showing the Nation that a State can survive without so much Federal assistance.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently announced that it would close 149 air traffic control towers to reduce its spending by $600 million. FAA officials said the move was necessary to cope with the across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration.
Though the FAA said that the closures would have no impact of airspace safety, officials in Texas opted to implement a plan to keep 13 towers slated for closure in operation in the State.
“Safety is the primary reason we felt a need to take immediate action for the air travelers and business aircraft that use these airports,” Texas Transportation Commissioner Fred Underwood said in a statement. “I am proud of our leaders for taking this extraordinary measure to ensure that those relying on these municipal airports will be able to depart and arrive safely and efficiently.”
Texas Transportation Department Executive Director Phil Wilson cited the importance of small local airports to his State’s growing economy as the reason for using State funds to keep the towers open.
“Flying is an integral part of commerce in Texas,” Wilson told The Hill. “Local communities are counting on these airports to remain open for continued economic success.”
The FAA has been funding contracts for air traffic control towers since 1982.