Funds Approved to Keep 13 Texas Airport Towers Open

The Texas Transportation Commission unanimously approved the $2 million temporary emergency funding, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

All 13 of the FAA contract air traffic control towers in Texas for which Federal Aviation Administration funding is about to cease will stay open thanks to $2 million in emergency temporary funding unanimously approved April 4 by the Texas Transportation Commission (TTC), the Austin American-Statesman's Jody Serrano reported. FAA had announced last month that funding for 149 towers nationwide will cease because of the sequester.

The commission held an emergency session with airport managers, city officials, and others speaking about the need to keep the towers operational in New Braunfels, Brownsville, College Station, Waco, Houston, Georgetown, San Marcos, Dallas, Sugarland, San Antonio, Tyler, and Victoria, several of which were scheduled to lose funding April 7. The Collin County Regional Airport’s air traffic control tower also will remain fully operational because the McKinney City Council recently approved a contract through Sept. 30, 2013, with Robinson Aviation to continue operations at the tower after FAA funding halts April 21.

"Safety is the primary reason we felt a need to take immediate action for the air travelers and business aircraft that use these airports," TTC Commissioner Fred Underwood said recently. "I am proud of our leaders for taking this extraordinary measure to ensure that those relying on these municipal airports will be able to depart and arrive safely and efficiently."

"Flying is an integral part of commerce in Texas," aded Phil Wilson, the Texas Department of Transportation's executive director. "Local communities are counting on these airports to remain open for continued economic success."

Two additional smaller airports in Grand Prairie and Fort Worth remain funded under a federal agreement until Sept. 30, according to TCC.

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