A bipartisan U.S. Senate effort to protect 149 control towers from closure under budget sequestration has garnered additional support since its introduction last week. Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) announced on Tuesday that their Protect Our Skies Act has been co-sponsored by 30 senators on both sides of the aisle, “and the list continues to grow,” according to Moran.
The Senate bill would prohibit the Department of Transportation from closing any control tower for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2013 and throughout FY2014.
The FAA originally planned to begin a three-phase closure of the affected control towers on April 7. Facing a rising number of legal actions against the closures, however, the agency retreated somewhat from its initial schedule, announcing April 5 that the onset of closures would be delayed until June 15.
Sen. Blumenthal said the “misguided” decision to close the towers has caused “needless harm to employees, their communities and regional economies, as well as air travel.” A companion measure, the Air Traffic Control Tower Funding Restoration Act, was also introduced last week in the U.S. House of Representatives.