Arkansas Delegation Republicans Join Colleagues to Demand Answers from FAA on Local Contract Control Tower Closures

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator John Boozman, Congressmen Rick Crawford (AR-1), Tim Griffin (AR-2), Steve Womack (AR-3), and Tom Cotton (AR-4) made the following statements today after joining a bipartisan group of 45 other members of the House and Senate to send a bipartisan letter to FAA Administrator Huerta asking for details of the agency’s plan to close 189 contract control towers because of sequester:

“The Administration’s doom and gloom approach to sequestration is unfortunate,” Boozman said. “Instead of minimizing the pain of budget cuts, many federal agencies are maximizing the pain. We can maintain contract towers, if the funding cuts were spread more evenly across the FAA. That’s why I’m happy to support a senate amendment that would cut costs evenly to reduce the impact on air travel in Arkansas and across the country.”

“Rural airports play a vital role in the economies of communities across Arkansas. The FAA cannot hope to cure all of the financial woes created by the sequester on the backs of rural Arkansans,” said Crawford.

“The Obama Administration is doing everything it can to make sure their worst predictions come true and to maximize the pain of the sequester cuts for political gain.  Instead of cutting waste, the Administration Obama is hurting workers, and with this decision, five Arkansas communities are feeling the impact,” said Griffin.

 “The FAA's decision to cut funding for the Contract Tower Program is just the latest example of the administration's continued insistence on implementing the sequester in the most painful way possible and has put five Arkansas facilities at risk,” said Womack.  “As mayor of Rogers, I helped pen the Contract Tower Agreement with the FAA and uniquely understand how vital controlled airspace is to our state and local economies.  I remain committed to working with the delegation to protect our transportation infrastructure and these important resources.”

“I want to thank my fellow members of the Arkansas Republican delegation for their hard work and support on this issue,” said Cotton. “Five Arkansas airport control towers stand to be shut down as a result of sequester– resulting in the loss of over 500 jobs and harming our state economy. Further, I am astonished that these closures precede cuts to the FAA’s $500 million budget for consultants and $200 million budget for travel and conferences. I urge the FAA and the Obama administration to evaluate other responsible options and answer our request for additional information.”

Full text of the letter can be found here