A stop work order was issued by the FAA for an $18 million air traffic control tower at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport because of inaction by Congress. Funds weren’t renewed and on Saturday all FAA projects around the nation came to an abrupt halt. The country’s air traffic control facilities are extremely outdated and efforts to rebuild this critical infrastructure have now been halted. 4,000 FAA employees are now without pay in 35 states though the Agency says the safety of the flying public will not be compromised.
“Construction workers across America will lose their jobs and local communities will be hurt the longer this goes on. Congress needs to pass an FAA bill to prevent further economic damage,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This is no way to run the best aviation system in the world.”
“Unless Congress acts quickly, more work on projects critical to our nation’s aviation system will come to a halt. Work is stopping on construction and planning projects, NextGen system testing, and airport certification. The list goes on and on and this is just the beginning,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton facility serves both the 10th and 11th Congressional Districts represented by Tea Party newcomers Lou Barletta and Tom Marino respectively. These two are also blocking funding the federal government and driving powerful cuts in vital services. Both voted for the radical and extreme Cut, Cap and Destroy Act last week which would slash Medicare and Social Security and put our national security in jeopardy. I suppose, compared with that, an $18 million air traffic control tower is nothing. The people of their Districts might disagree however.