Continue To Call For Congress to Fix All of the Deeply Harmful Sequester Cuts

 

NEW HAVEN, CT—Connecticut’s members of the House of Representatives—Rosa DeLauro, John Larson, Joe Courtney, Jim Himes and Elizabeth Esty—asked Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to ensure all of the state’s air traffic control towers stay open. Congress passed legislation Friday giving Secretary LaHood authority to transfer funds for this purpose, but there is no guarantee he will. Closing Connecticut’s six contract towers would unnecessarily hurt the hundreds of workers whose jobs are associated with them and hurt the state’s economy.

 

The representatives also stressed their opposition to a haphazard, piecemeal approach to dealing with the deeply harmful, automatic budget cuts known as sequestration. They are united in calling for a full repeal of the cuts that "continue to hurt families across the country, from children unable to participate in Head Start to seniors losing access to Meals on Wheels." All five representatives have repeatedly asked the Republican leadership to bring up a balanced plan that addresses our budgetary and long-term economic challenges.

 

“Keeping these towers open will allow those employed by these airports to remain on the job, help maintain local economies and ensure public safety,” the representatives wrote. “Accordingly, we urge you to use your authority to continue to provide the needed funding to keep the six aforementioned towers in Connecticut open.  Doing so is critical not only for current and future air traffic in our state and the greater region, but also for supporting public safety, jobs at these airports, and our local economies that rely on the airports for additional jobs and tax revenue.”

 

The letter sent by the representatives is as follows:

 

 

The Honorable Ray LaHood

Secretary

U.S. Department of Transportation

1200 New Jersey Ave, SE

Washington, DC 20590

 

Dear Secretary LaHood:

 

We write to urge you to use the transfer authority recently provided to you by Congress to prevent the closure of the six air traffic control towers slated for closure throughout the State of Connecticut as a result of sequestration.  Keeping these towers open will allow those employed by these airports to remain on the job, help maintain local economies and ensure public safety. 

We were deeply disappointed in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announcement in March that federal funding for Sikorsky Memorial, Danbury Municipal, Groton-New London, Hartford-Brainard, Tweed-New Haven and Waterbury-Oxford airports in Connecticut may be terminated on April 7 as a result of the sequester.  Fortunately, the FAA announced early this month that closure of these air traffic control towers would be delayed until June 15, a decision we welcomed. 

 

As you know, legislation recently passed by Congress provides you with the authority to transfer up to $253 million to the FAA’s operations account during the remainder of this fiscal year.  Using the authority will allow you to end the furloughs that have resulted in thousands of commercial flight delays throughout the country.  The authority should also give you the funding needed to keep air traffic control towers open.

 

Accordingly, we urge you to use your authority to continue to provide the needed funding to keep the six aforementioned towers in Connecticut open.  Doing so is critical not only for current and future air traffic in our state and the greater region, but also for supporting public safety, jobs at these airports, and our local economies that rely on the airports for additional jobs and tax revenue.  

 

We appreciate that, even with this transfer authority, the Department of Transportation faces other difficult challenges as a result of sequestration and that these indiscriminate across the board cuts continue to hurt families across the country, from children unable to participate in Head Start to seniors losing access to Meals on Wheels.  We therefore remain committed to passing a responsible budget that ends sequestration this year and in future years. 

 

We thank you for your prompt consideration of this important request.

 

Sincerely,

 

Rosa DeLauro

John Larson

Joe Courtney

Jim Himes

Elizabeth Esty