Mikulski, Cardin Praise Obama Administration for Acting Swiftly to End Air Traffic Controller Furloughs and Keep 149 Federal Air Traffic Control Contract Towers Open

Senators call for end of sequester, which had threatened towers in Easton, Frederick, Hagerstown, Martin and Salisbury-Ocean City

May 1, 2013

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin (both D-Md.) today praised the Obama Administration for keeping all of the 149 federal air traffic control contract towers (ATC) in the country open.  This includes the five federal ATC contract towers in Maryland located in Easton, Frederick, Hagerstown, Martin and Salisbury-Ocean City.   

The announcement by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) comes after passage of legislation by Congress giving the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood authority to shift up to $253 million among various accounts to prevent furloughs of air traffic controllers and keep the air traffic control contract towers open.  

Senators Mikulski and Cardin issued the following statement after Secretary LaHood announced that the federal ATC towers would not close:  

"We are pleased Congress acted to keep our nation's air transportation system fully operational. Secretary LaHood has moved quickly to keep air traffic controllers on the job and the federal air traffic control contract towers open and operational.  However, the solution announced by the Secretary solves the problem only for the next five months.   

"The crisis created by furloughing air traffic controllers and the plan to close the nation's federal ATC contract towers only served to highlight the fact that sequester is not good policy. It's destructive to our economy, reducing employment when we should be stimulating it, and damaging priorities that are important to the American people.  From harmful cuts in Head Start and Meals on Wheels to education programs and biomedical research, sequester is a meat-axe approach with mindless cuts that will continue to reverberate throughout our economy. We both are committed to ending sequester with a balanced approach that reforms the tax code and mandatory spending and includes strategic, targeted cuts."    

In April, Senators Mikulski and Cardin along with Congressmen C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and John Delaney (all D-Md.) wrote a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood urging the FAA to postpone plans to close federal contract air traffic control towers, including at the five Maryland regional airports. Following the letter, the FAA announced that it would postpone ATC closures until June 15.