TxDOT provides emergency funding for air traffic control towers - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

TxDOT provides emergency funding for air traffic control towers

Amarillo, TX -- The Texas Transportation Commission is stepping in to keep the state's airways open, after Governor Rick Perry appealed for emergency funding.

The federal budget cuts that kicked in three weeks ago have the Federal Aviation Administration planning to close 149 air traffic control towers across the country, including 13 in Texas.  And at the behest of Governor Perry, the Commission will keep those towers open for the next three months.

On March 2nd, the Budget Control Act implemented the across the board federal budget cuts known as sequestration.  The FAA was forced to cut about $600 million from its budget, and among those on the chopping block were some air traffic control towers.

But they only targeted contract towers, which are usually at smaller airports and staffed by subcontracted employees.  Federal towers, like the ones at Rick Husband International Airport in Amarillo, will not be affected.

"Our tower - the people who run that and the controllers are all FAA employees,"  explains airport manager Patrick Rhodes, "and the 'contract towers' are people who have qualified to be a controller or a controller manager, but they work for a private business."

The FAA does provide local funding for upgrades and improvements in the form of an annual grant, and officials don't expect that to change.

"Typical funding that this airport gets from the FAA amounts to about three million dollars a year, and that's based on the number of people who fly out of here," says Rhodes, "But I think if the program were going to be impacted, they would have let us know by now."

The estimated annual cost of keeping the thirteen towers open is about $7 million.  Without funding, the towers would have closed on April 7th.

If you'd like to learn more about the significance and impact of the cuts or read Governor Perry's letter for yourself, follow the links attached to this story.

ADVERTISEMENT
Bookmark and Share
  • Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • DACA largely restored following federal ruling

    DACA largely restored following federal ruling

    Tuesday, April 24 2018 10:36 PM EDT2018-04-25 02:36:09 GMT
    Tuesday, April 24 2018 10:36 PM EDT2018-04-25 02:36:09 GMT
    Gabriela Matinez, 19, left, holds a sign at a protest last month. (Source: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)Gabriela Matinez, 19, left, holds a sign at a protest last month. (Source: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

    The judge, John Bates, wrote in his judgment that the government's cancellation of DACA was “arbitrary and capricious.” 

    The judge, John Bates, wrote in his judgment that the government's cancellation of DACA was “arbitrary and capricious.” 

  • Sewer fee continues to fund required rehab

    Sewer fee continues to fund required rehab

    Tuesday, April 24 2018 9:55 PM EDT2018-04-25 01:55:05 GMT
    (Source KSWO)(Source KSWO)
    (Source KSWO)(Source KSWO)

    A $2.35 fee on Lawton utilities will continue until at least 2025.

    A $2.35 fee on Lawton utilities will continue until at least 2025.

  • Online post suggests rampage suspect may have resented women

    Online post suggests rampage suspect may have resented women

    Tuesday, April 24 2018 12:25 AM EDT2018-04-24 04:25:49 GMT
    Tuesday, April 24 2018 9:52 PM EDT2018-04-25 01:52:41 GMT
    (Aaron Vincent Elkaim/The Canadian Press via AP). Officials carry a body into a vehicle after a van mounted a sidewalk crashing into pedestrians in Toronto on Monday, April 23, 2018. The rented van jumped onto the crowded sidewalk Monday, killing and i...(Aaron Vincent Elkaim/The Canadian Press via AP). Officials carry a body into a vehicle after a van mounted a sidewalk crashing into pedestrians in Toronto on Monday, April 23, 2018. The rented van jumped onto the crowded sidewalk Monday, killing and i...

    Police in Canada's biggest city are piecing together witness accounts and surveillance video trying to determine why a driver plowed a rented van along a crowded sidewalk, killing 10 people and injuring 15 in what...

    Police in Canada's biggest city are piecing together witness accounts and surveillance video trying to determine why a driver plowed a rented van along a crowded sidewalk, killing 10 people and injuring 15 in what many said seemed a deliberate attack.

Powered by Frankly