Almost 140 members of the House of Representatives agree with AOPA and aviation industry leaders when it comes to protecting the FAA contract tower program.

Echoing the concerns of the general aviation community, 69 Democrats and 69 Republicans sent a March 14 letter to the House Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee in support of continuing funding for the FAA contract tower program.

The bipartisan letter comes on the heels of AOPA and other aviation industry leaders urging Congress to protect the 36-year-old program, which supports 254 small airports in 46 states and provides benefits such as enhanced safety and improved ATC services.

The contract tower program has proven to be cost effective, saving both the FAA and U.S. taxpayers $198 million per year, according to reports by the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General. While FAA contract towers handle 28 percent of all U.S. air traffic control tower operations, the program accounts for just 14 percent of the FAA’s overall tower budget.

The congressional letter concluded by urging the Appropriations Committee to consider continuing federal funding for the program, stating, “The importance of these towers cannot be dismissed, and any reforms made to the funding levels of these towers should be made in a fair, transparent, and safe manner.”

The letter was spearheaded by Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), Julia Brownley (D-Calif.), and Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.).

Article provided courtesy of Aircraft Owners and Pilots