Sensenbrenner asks administration to keep airport towers open

U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Menomonee Falls) sent a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, criticizing the decision to close 149 air traffic control towers under the Contract Tower Program – including all eight such towers located in Wisconsin – due to cuts under sequestration.

The towers targeted for closure in Wisconsin are located in Milwaukee (Timmerman Field), Waukesha (Crites Field), Mosinee, Eau Claire, Kenosha, Janesville, La Crosse and Oshkosh.

Sensenbrenner wrote that the Contract Tower Program is among the most cost-effective programs run by the Federal Aviation Administration, yet its budget is set for a 75 percent cut – well more than the 5 percent cuts seen by other FAA programs.

In a statement, Sensenbrenner said, “Washington is full of excess, waste and duplication. Our federal government is bloated and we must begin the tedious process of unburdening the American taxpayer from political inefficiency. Reining in spending will stabilize our economy and put America on a path to fiscal stability and self-reliance. But we must do so carefully and responsibly. Across the board cuts are not the answer.”

“I am a huge proponent of less government spending, but the point is and always has been for the government to do more with less,” Sensenbrenner wrote in his letter. “The CTP is an example of a program that does exactly that. It should be replicated, not slashed.”

LaHood announced the agency will keep the smaller airport towers open until June 15 after originally planning to close them in early April.

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