Following through on President Obama's biggest sequester doomsday scenarios, the FAA has announced it will shut down 173 air traffic control towers due to forced budget cuts. The towers will be at small and medium-sized airports that don't necessarily need their own towers, and will only affect "contract towers" that are staffed with contract workers, not FAA employees.
So while the cuts won't mean any canceled flights, closed airports, or government layoffs, they will place an added burden on FAA's actual employees, at will put some people out of work, at least temporarily. This despite the fact that he organization that oversees the towers, the Contract Tower Association, claims they provide the same level of safety as FAA towers, but at a lower cost.
Long airport lines and threats of stranded travelers, was one of the president's go-to examples for how the sequestration would affect the average American. That threat was considered "sky is falling" hype (no pun intended) by some, but just like every other agency the FAA does have to cut back somewhere. The first round of tower closings will take effect April 7, unless some sort of budget miracle arrives to save the day.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.