Sunday, March 24, 2013


As Air Traffic Control Towers Close, FAA Hiring ‘Community Planners’ – Fred Lucas – 3/21/2013

According to the FAA, this is not a question of spending priorities between control towers and community planners. That’s because the two are financed through separate funds within the FAA. Air traffic funding – which funds the towers – is a separate fund from the airport improvement program that funds community planners. Moreover, the airport improvement program is exempt from the sequester, according to the FAA.

The FAA declined to answer specific questions on the matter from until it responds to questions from Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on March 6 asking about several spending priorities in the sequestration, including FAA jobs.

Leaving these six job openings unfilled would hardly put a dent in the $600 million in savings the FAA needs to find, but they do amount to the full-time yearly salaries for four air traffic controllers,” Coburn wrote. “These numbers may not be huge, but they illustrated an important point: FAA is not doing enough to seek out ways to save money without affecting their mission.

“While we value the work of everyone at the FAA, not every employee has duties critical to the immediate mission of the agency,” Coburn continued. “As such, we should give higher priority to those performing essential tasks over others who are not. Air traffic controllers, safety inspectors and technicians should certainly receive the highest priority.”

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