TxDOT provides emergency funding for air traffic control towers - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

TxDOT provides emergency funding for air traffic control towers

Posted: Updated:

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
  • Today's Local News HeadlinesToday's Local NewsMore>>

  • APD searching for stabbing suspects

    APD searching for stabbing suspects

    Sunday, April 20 2014 11:53 PM EDT2014-04-21 03:53:21 GMT
    Amarillo Police are looking for three suspects who are accused of stabbing a man early Sunday morning. They say the victim was at the Sanborn park around 2:30 a.m. when he was approached by the suspects. Officials say the victim was stabbed twice in the abdomen and was transported to the hospital. If you know anything about this incident, call Amarillo Crime Stoppers at 374-4400.
    Amarillo Police are looking for three suspects who are accused of stabbing a man early Sunday morning. They say the victim was at the Sanborn park around 2:30 a.m. when he was approached by the suspects. Officials say the victim was stabbed twice in the abdomen and was transported to the hospital. If you know anything about this incident, call Amarillo Crime Stoppers at 374-4400.
  • Alibates celebrates National Park Week

    Alibates celebrates National Park Week

    Sunday, April 20 2014 11:47 PM EDT2014-04-21 03:47:35 GMT
    There are over 400 national parks in America, one of which is here in our area.This week, the Alibates Flint Quarries National Park is celebrating national park week. Until the 27th, you're invited to stop by our local national park where you can hike, camp and enjoy the wild life. On the 22nd, national parks are honoring Earth Day. They encourage you to stop by and help pick up trash to help keep our parks beautiful.
    There are over 400 national parks in America, one of which is here in our area.This week, the Alibates Flint Quarries National Park is celebrating national park week. Until the 27th, you're invited to stop by our local national park where you can hike, camp and enjoy the wild life. On the 22nd, national parks are honoring Earth Day. They encourage you to stop by and help pick up trash to help keep our parks beautiful.
  • Large donation to help local Ronald McDonald House

    Large donation to help local Ronald McDonald House

    Volunteers from Kohl's donated over a thousand dollars to the Ronald McDonald house of Amarillo, Saturday afternoon.
    Volunteers from Kohl's donated over a thousand dollars to the Ronald McDonald house of Amarillo, Saturday afternoon.