Upstate Airport Tower, Others Saved From Budget Cuts - WSPA.com

Upstate Airport Tower, Others Saved From Budget Cuts

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Updated: April 5, 2013

Airports are catching a break on budget cuts.  Dozens of towers set to close this weekend, including one in the Upstate, will stay open.

The Obama Administration is delaying the closing of 149 airport control towers until mid-June to deal with legal challenges.  One of those towers is the Donaldson Center in Greenville County. 

That tower, along with 23 others, were originally set to close Sunday.

The FAA said Friday that the closings will be delayed until June 15.

Trade groups representing companies that operate the towers under contract for the FAA filed a lawsuit Thursday in Federal Court in Washington.

The agency says about 50 airport operators and communities have also indicated they may want to pay for operation of the towers themselves, and more time is needed to work out those details.

Posted: March 22, 2013

The Federal Aviation Administration announced Friday that a upstate airport's control tower is among 149 that will close on April 7.

The Donaldson Center Tower in Greenville is the victim of one of the agency's sequestration implementation plan. The agency made the decision to close the 149 towers and keep 24 federal contract tower open that had been previously proposed for closure. An additional 16 federal contract towers under the agency's "cost share" program will remain open because of a congressional statute that funds those towers.

"We heard from communities across the country about the importance of their towers and these were very tough decisions," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "Unfortunately we are faced with a series of difficult choices that we have to make to reach the required cuts under sequestration."

"We will work with the airports and the operators to ensure the procedures are in place to maintain the high level of safety at non-towered airports," said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

The FAA proposed the closure of 189 air traffic control towers in early March due to plans to meet $637 million in cuts under the budget sequestration. They later announced that they would consider keeping those towers open if it would be in the best interest of the nation.

To look at the full list of the air traffic control towers, click here.

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