WV Rep. McKinley cosponsors bill to fund air traffic control tow - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

WV Rep. McKinley cosponsors bill to fund air traffic control towers

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A bill to restore funding to 149 airport towers set to close in June is moving through Congress.

Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., announced he has cosponsored House Resolution 1432, the Air Traffic Control Tower Funding Restoration Act. The act would restore funding to contractor-operated air traffic control towers by using unspent money in the Federal Aviation Administration's budget. The bill has bipartisan support and is supported by the American Association of Airport Executives, National Air Transportation Association and Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

In March, the FAA announced it would close 149 contract-operated air traffic control towers nationwide as a result of budget cuts.

"Political decisions like this one can have a devastating effect on communities like Wheeling and Parkersburg," McKinley said. Wheeling and Parkersburg are in McKinley's district. A third tower, in Lewisburg, is also slated for closure.

"The Obama administration is putting millions of Americans at risk to make a political point rather than finding waste and duplication to cut at the FAA," McKinley added.

In a statement, McKinley said the FAA spends more than $500 million on consultants and $200 million on employee travel and supplies.

"Additionally, over the last nine years, the FAA has ignored 555 recommendations from its inspector general that could save millions of dollars," McKinley said. "This is no reason to put the safety of millions of Americans at risk by closing air traffic towers."