It could be easier to keep the lights on at the Frederick Municipal Airport control tower if a Senate Appropriations Committee spending plan is signed into law.
The committee reached an agreement Tuesday on the budget, according to Matt Jorgenson, a spokesman for Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s office. Mikulski is chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
“The expectation is that it would pass tomorrow in the House and that the Senate would pass it immediately,” Jorgenson said in a phone interview Wednesday.
The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 includes
$144.5 million to fund 149 federal contract air traffic control towers across the nation, including five in Maryland, in fiscal 2015.
In a statement, Mikulski emphasized the contract towers’ impact on employment.
“This bill is good news for federal contract air traffic control towers and the communities and jobs that rely on them,” Mikulski said. “In recent years, these contract towers and their communities have faced shutdown, furloughs and uncertainty.”
Last year, the automatic federal budget cuts known as sequestration threatened to close federal air traffic control towers across the U.S.
Congress in April gave the Federal Aviation Administration the ability to shift funding to keep air traffic controllers working and air traffic control contract towers open.
Airport manager Rick Johnson said he was pleased to hear about the promised funding and hoped this budget might be a longer-term solution than the piecemeal funding that kept the contract towers open last year.
“We’re tired of the continuing resolutions, so if they could fund it and fund it for multiple years, that’s more than we could ask for,” he said.