Missouri Congress members question air tower closures

Friday, March 15, 2013 | 7:58 a.m. CDT; updated 10:03 a.m. CDT, Friday, March 15, 2013

JEFFERSON CITY — Several Congress members from Missouri are raising questions about a federal plan to close air traffic control towers at some local airports.

The Federal Aviation Administration recently released a list of 238 airports where control towers could be closed as a result of budget cuts enacted under the so-called sequester. The list includes airports for five Missouri cities — Branson, Columbia, Jefferson City, Joplin and St. Joseph.

U.S. Reps. Sam Graves, Vicky Hartzler, Billy Long and Blaine Luetkemeyer wrote to federal aviation officials saying the potential cuts appear to disproportionately fall on airports that use contractors for air traffic controllers. They said the federal proposal "borders on reckless behavior."

The Congress members want the FAA to explain why airports with contracted control towers should receive larger cuts.

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