Funds approved to keep TX control towers open for 90 days - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Funds approved to keep TX control towers open for 90 days

The Transportation Commission has approved TxDOT's decision to fund 13 air traffic control towers in Texas to keep them open for 90 days.

Texarkana Regional Regional Airport is home to one of the control towers that's funding was set to be cut by the Federal Aviation Administration April 7. The FAA plans to halt funding to 149 towers nationwide as they try to meet a series of budget cuts due to the sequestration.

TxDOT applauded the Texas Transportation Commission's decision to keep the tower open for another 3 months in a statement Thursday afternoon, saying that "The commission's action today will allow these communities to partner with TxDOT during this period of transition while longer-term solutions are being evaluated and considered."

In Northwest Louisiana, the control tower at the Shreveport Downtown Airport is also set to close.

Management of the Downtown Airport appealed in a letter to the FAA to reconsider the closure, but so far, it remains on the list.

In spite of that, airport manager Stacy Kuba made it clear that the fight to keep the tower open isn't over. "The Shreveport Downtown Airport will remain open and safety is the top priority as we explore other avenues to re-open the control tower."

Toward that end, Kuba met with U.S. Sen. David Vitter on Thursday, along with  officials from the Shreveport Airport Authority and Barksdale Air Force Base.

Vitter has supported a bipartisan bill to prohibit DOT from closing any air traffic control towers, including the tower at the Shreveport Downtown Airport.

"There's no good reason that this or other control towers have to close," Vitter said. "During the budget debates, we proved that the necessary savings to keep the towers open exist and could easily be moved to provide funding so our airports like the Shreveport Downtown Airport aren't negatively affected by automatic spending cuts."

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