AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Gov. Rick Perry wants the Texas Department of Transportation to step in with funding for the air traffic control towers at 13 small airports to go unstaffed due to federal budget cuts.
The Austin American-Statesman reported that Perry on Wednesday sent a letter asking the Texas Transportation Commission to provide 90 days of emergency assistance to keep the control towers open. Perry called the towers part of a “vital safety network.”
The Federal Aviation Administration last week released a list of 149 cuts nationwide as it seeks to cut $637 million from its budget for the fiscal year that ends in September. State officials estimate the towers would cost $7 million a year to keep open.
TxDOT announced on Thursday that it will supply funding to keep the airports open and safe, if the Texas Transportation Commission approves the move. This includes Dallas Executive Airport and Collin County Regional Airport in the DFW area. “Flying is an integral part of commerce in Texas. Local communities are counting on these airports to remain open for continued economic success,” said TxDOT executive director Phil Wilson.
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