HOLLYWOOD (CBSMiami) – The Federal Aviation Administration announced Friday that starting April 7, 149 federal contract air traffic control towers will close, including the tower at North Perry Airport in Hollywood.
The move from the FAA comes due to the sequestration cuts enacted by Congress and signed into law by the President in 2011. Sequestration, or across the board cuts, features indiscriminate cuts and is causing problems for multiple government agencies and thousands of workers and contractors.
“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.”
The FAA had proposed closing 189 contract air traffic control towers as part of a plan to meet $637 million in budget cuts enacted due to sequestration. The FAA said it would consider keeping open any of the towers if it was in the national interest.
According to the FAA, the national interest considerations included: significant threats to national security as determined by the FAA in consultation with the Department of Defense or the Department of Homeland Security; significant, adverse economic impact that is beyond the impact on a local community; significant impact on multi-state transportation, communication or banking/financial networks; and the extent to which an airport currently served by a contract tower is a critical diversionary airport to a large hub.
Opa-Locka Executive Airport, which had been on the list originally, will remain open under the FAA’s new plan announced Friday.
The FAA said the 149 air traffic control tower closures will start on April 7 and continue over a four-week period.