The U.S. Senate and House appropriations committees included full funding for outsourced airport control towers in a 2014 omnibus bill that will be considered by Congress this week, according to the U.S. Contract Tower Association.
The proposal is a positive development for airports, including Lynchburg’s, whose control towers were on the chopping block in last year’s sequestration talks.
The Federal Aviation Administration had proposed to close 149 outsourced or contract control towers as part of its sequestration measures. The Lynchburg Regional Airport’s tower was among those in danger.
Protests about safety and other concerns led to some funding being redirected to keep the towers open. The U.S. Contract Tower Association released a statement today praising the new bills that came out of the appropriations committees.
“On behalf of the nation’s 252 airports with FAA contract towers, we thank the leaders of the House and Senate appropriations committees for their recognition of the role contract towers play in enhancing the safety and efficiency of the nation’s aviation system,” said Spencer Dickerson, executive director of the national association.
“In addition to their important safety benefits, contract towers provide significant cost savings to FAA and taxpayers, help small airports with retaining and developing commercial air service and general aviation, and promote economic development and job creation in local communities.”