The U.S. Contract Tower Association, an affiliate organization of the American Association of Airport Executives, commended leaders and members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees last week for approving dedicated funding to keep 251 contract towers across the country open and operational beyond September 30 and throughout the upcoming fiscal year. Both the House and Senate appropriations committees have included dedicated funding for contract towers as part of their respective annual spending bills for the Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration covering the fiscal year (2014) that runs from October 1 through September 30, 2014.
"Even in the face of difficult budget constraints, lawmakers from both parties and from both sides of the Capitol have signaled once again their strong support for keeping contract towers open and operational beyondSeptember 30 and throughout the upcoming fiscal year," USCTA Executive Director J. Spencer Dickerson said today. "The inclusion of dedicated funding for the Contract Tower Program as part of both the House and Senate funding bills for the FAA is significant and reaffirms the bipartisan, bicameral view that the Contract Tower Program is a high priority and too important to be targeted for disproportionate funding cuts. "
Earlier today, the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee met separately and approved their respective versions of the fiscal year 2014 spending bill for DOT, FAA, and other federal agencies. The House bill includes a minimum of $140 million in dedicated funding for the Contract Tower Program, including $10.35 million for the Contract Tower Cost-Share Program. The Senate bill provides $140.35 million in dedicated funding for the Contract Tower Program, including $10.35 million for the Contract Tower Cost-Share Program.
"The Senate and House Appropriations Committees have sent a clear message that air traffic control services are essential," said Tim Rogers, A.A.E., Salina Airport Authority Executive Director and member of the U.S. Contract Tower Association policy board. "The air traffic controllers at the eight FAA contract towers in Kansas will be able to continue offering safe and effective ATC services to Kansas pilots."
USCTA has advocated for additional specificity in the annual DOT/FAA funding bill with regard to the Contract Tower Program to ensure that critical facilities supported by the program are not targeting for closure because of sequestration and other factors.