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Livermore Air Traffic Tower Could Be Victim of Federal Budget Cuts

U.S. Secretary of Transportation and FAA Administrator issue warning Friday that looming federal budget cuts will force them to cut air traffic controller jobs and hours.

By Bay City News Service — The air traffic control tower in Livermore is one of many locally and nationally that could be affected by the looming federal budget sequestration, officials said Friday.

With a possible federal budget sequestration looming on March 1, the Federal Aviation Administration could close several Bay Area air traffic control towers and flights into major airports like San Francisco's could face delays of up to 90 minutes.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta issued a letter to aviation officials on Friday warning of the possible reductions as Congress decides whether to avoid the automatic spending cuts. The sequestration is based on legislation passed last year that said if no compromise was reached by the congressional Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, then $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts will take place over the next decade.

The letter by LaHood and Huerta said those cuts would have a drastic effect on air travel, including the possible closing of more than 100 air traffic control towers nationally and elimination of overnight shifts at more than 60 others.

The proposed cuts could also mean one furlough day per pay period for the FAA's 47,000 employees, according to the officials. Local air traffic control towers that could be closed include the ones at airports in Napa, Santa Rosa, Concord, Livermore, San Carlos and Salinas.

The shutdowns would begin as soon as April, according to the letter, which said the reduction in air traffic controllers on staff would mean delays of up to 90 minutes during peak hours at airports in San Francisco, New York, Chicago and other major cities.

U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, denounced Congressional Republicans for not yet agreeing to a solution to stave off these potential cuts.

"These political games being played by the House Majority in Washington are costing real people their jobs here at home and unnecessarily putting people's safety at risk," Thompson said in a statement.

He said both the Napa and Santa Rosa airports would be forced to furlough or lay off a number of employees if those air traffic control towers close, even temporarily. Thompson added that planes in both airports would be operating in uncontrolled airspace, while nearly all flights there currently are during controlled air times.

"Instead of this manufactured crisis, we need a balanced, bold plan that creates jobs, cuts spending, reforms our tax code so that everyone is paying their fair share and protects Social Security and Medicare. That's what I'm working for," he said.

Copyright © 2012 by BayCityNews, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of BayCityNews, Inc. is prohibited.

Nick February 27, 2013 at 03:02 PM
I believe it is a 2.4% or less reduction, they have had time to plan this out. The president rejected a bill to allow him to decide where the cuts come from and he rejected it because he didn't get a tax increase with the bill. More taxes has been his answer all along while he asks for a balanced approach. Where is the balance? Where are the cuts in spending? I think there are lots of places to cut and its not in air traffic control, children's services and bathrooms at parks.
50 years here February 27, 2013 at 05:43 PM
Military and Police Services are where all the waste is, Cut there! And it would be nice if the threatened cuts would cut down on the air traffic here, but it won't! Likely just make it worse and more hectic.
The Real Anon February 27, 2013 at 07:30 PM
Scare tactics. They don't need to close THIS airport, they're just doing it because its one of the airports with the most traffic. Its like when schools cut a teacher position rather than an administrator position. They could have cut the admin job and not had any impact.
Paul February 27, 2013 at 09:43 PM
Oh No!,,,,, What will the millionaire's do ?
Paul February 27, 2013 at 09:47 PM
Good news I found the money to keep it open !! What City Employees in Livermore Get in Salary, Pension and Benefits

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