TxDOT could fund air traffic control towers - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

TxDOT could fund air traffic control towers despite being billions in debt

Posted: Updated:
  • KSLA News 12 HeadlinesMore>>

  • With 6-4 vote, BESE joins Common Core lawsuit against Gov. Jindal

    With 6-4 vote, BESE joins Common Core lawsuit against Gov. Jindal

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 7:35 PM EDT2014-07-29 23:35:23 GMT

    The fight over Common Core got hotter with dueling lawsuits. On Tuesday afternoon, The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) voted 6- 4 to join a lawsuit filed by parents and teachers against Governor Bobby Jindal. Governor Jindal's administration then filed their own lawsuit.

    More >>
    The fight over Common Core got hotter with dueling lawsuits. On Tuesday afternoon, The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) voted 6- 4 to join a lawsuit filed by parents and teachers against Governor Bobby Jindal. Governor Jindal's administration then filed their own lawsuit.
    More >>
  • Bowie County cuts prompt deputy to retire early

    Bowie County cuts prompt deputy to retire early

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 7:30 PM EDT2014-07-29 23:30:40 GMT
    Deputy Garry McCrary is leaving his post in Bowie County so others can keep their jobs.Deputy Garry McCrary is leaving his post in Bowie County so others can keep their jobs.
    July 31 is the due date for each department in Bowie County to cut its payroll budget, and so far, more than 15 positions have been slashed to save the county money.More >>
    July 31 is the due date for each department in Bowie County to cut its payroll budget, and so far, more than 15 positions have been slashed to save the county money.More >>
  • Army rejects EPA's order to clean up Camp Minden

    Army rejects EPA's order to clean up Camp Minden

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:53 PM EDT2014-07-29 22:53:02 GMT
    Authorities have said Explo improperly stored tons of a military propellant at Camp Minden, causing evacuation of the town of Doyline in October 2013. (Source: Louisiana State Police)Authorities have said Explo improperly stored tons of a military propellant at Camp Minden, causing evacuation of the town of Doyline in October 2013. (Source: Louisiana State Police)
    The U.S. Army said it will not comply with the EPA's order that it clean up propellant it shipped to Camp Minden, hedging on the bet that the environmental agency doesn't have the authority to even make the demand.More >>
    The U.S. Army said it will not comply with the EPA's order that it clean up propellant it shipped to Camp Minden, hedging on the bet that the environmental agency doesn't have the authority to even make the demand.More >>
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

Next week, TxDot hopes the Transportation Commission will approve their decision to fund 13 air traffic control towers in Texas.

Tyler Pounds Regional Airport is home to one of the control towers that's funding is set to be cut by the Federal Aviation Administration next month. The FAA plans to halt funding to 149 towers nationwide as they try to meet a series of budget cuts due to the sequestration.

But it's no secret TxDOT has some funding problems of their own.

While the City of Tyler has been adamant that a tower closure would not affect travel at their airport, Thursday, TxDOT executive director Phil Wilson said the funding cuts could shut down others. He said, "Flying is an integral part of commerce in Texas. Local communities are counting on these airports to remain open for continued economic success."

TxDOT's plan to fund the towers is a welcome announcement.

"This is what we consider a very prudent step on TxDot's part to assist us. The air traffic control tower allows us to maintain an efficient and effective airport," said Cater Delleney, Tyler city engineer.

The Transportation Commission will have the final say this Thursday. But just last month, Senator Kevin Eltife pushed lawmakers to start talking about TxDot's own debt and how to help them out of it. He says they've racked up a $13 billion bill funding road projects with bonds for the last 10 years and are in desperate need of a new revenue source to keep up with the state's infrastructure. Eltife proposed increasing the gas tax, along with other ideas to generate new revenue for TxDOT.

"Vehicle inspection stickers is an option. Sales tax is an option. I'm open to any option, but we've got to quit selling bonds; we've got to quit going into debt and we've got to get our state on a pay as you go basis," said Eltife in a February interview.

If TxDot is approved to fund the control towers, it'll buy cities like Tyler time to keep scoping out other long-term options. Airport manager Davis Dickson met with the FAA again on Thursday, hoping they'll reconsider the decision to stop funding the Tyler tower.

"It does more than just serve Tyler or East Texas. It serves the entire region, and there's a lot of national interest there, too," he said in a press conference earlier this month.

In the last 5 years, the FAA has granted Tyler $19.5 Million for safety improvements in and around the airport. The city hopes the FAA will recognize that investment and change their mind about the closure.

TxDOT's funding of the towers is expected to be temporary. Their offices were closed Friday and they were unavailable for comment. Governor Perry has asked TxDOT to fund the 13 towers for 90 days. Funding the Tyler tower alone would cost them about $150,000.

Copyright 2013 KLTV. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow