Congress faces more scrutiny as members battle the March 1st deadline to pass the federal budget. Possible forced cuts now have many airports, including Fresno, preparing to reduce services.
Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration announced plans to trim its budget by $600 million. It’s all part of the sequester plan that would trim about 2.5% of the overall federal budget.
Operations within the air traffic control tower at F.Y.I. would change. Midnight shifts would be eliminated there as well as more than 60 other towers across the country. It means your flight options might be reduced and it would take you longer to reach your destination.
Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, is warning Americans that they could feel the effects of automatic budget cuts at the airport.
“We are required to cut a billion dollars and if more than half our employees are at the F.A.A., there has to be some impact,” say Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transportation.
47,000 F.A.A. employees may have to take two unpaid days off a month through September. Air travelers would notice changes by April 1st such as 90 minute delays in major cities like New York, Chicago and San Francisco.
President Obama says avoiding these cuts should be a no-brainer.
“Hope springs eternal. I will keep making my case not only to congress, but more importantly to the American people,” said President Obama.
Some of our local congressional representatives weighed in on this issue.
Devin Nunes said, “Amid the sequester doomsday scenarios put forward by President Obama's administration, it's difficult to tell which concerns are real and which are mere scare tactics.”
David Valadao said, "There are numerous bipartisan alternatives where savings can be achieved that do not include massive tax hikes on American families or cuts to essential services. These include streamlining duplicate government programs and eliminating wasteful government spending."
Some control towers could close altogether if they don't meet a certain flight quota. Castle Airport in Atwater fits into that category.