US contract control towers targeted for cuts

US general aviation association AOPA reports that that the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) wants an end to funding for contract control towers serving GA-only airports.
The OMB is reportedly pressuring the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to eliminate funding as part of across-the-board cuts at federal agencies within President Obama’s Fiscal 2013 budget request.
“If adopted, the OMB recommendation would eliminate roughly half of the 248 contract towers now operating—this move is viewed as a repercussion of the failure of a Congressional supercommittee to agree on a compromise deficit cutting plan last month,” said AOPA.
Sources told the association that the preliminary OMB proposal—a subject of internal debate within the Obama administration—would preserve funding for contract (non-federal) control towers at airports with scheduled airline service, or with 10,000 military operations a year.
On Friday, AOPA was drafting a letter to the House and Senate members of the GA Caucus, urging them to oppose any effort to shut down control towers at GA airports.
The American Association of Airport Executives, which created the U.S. Contract Tower Association, warned of “devastating” effects of the cuts.
“The federal government´s budget constraints should not impact such a critical aviation safety initiative like the FAA contract tower program,” it said.
AOPA said it will closely follow developments on the reported OMB proposal and report on developments to members.

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