LAWMAKERS AND UNIONS NEED TO STAND DOWN AND SUPPORT CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF OVERSTAFFING IN AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL FACILITIES

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ARTICLE: Zombie Towers Live as Taxpayers Fund Flightless Skies

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The Fiscal Cliff or Sequestration or whatever you might call it has created a lot of focus on what can/should be cut from every civil or military governmental budget. Post election and pre cliff, there is a lot of attention being paid to where billions of spending should be considered for cutting.

There has been an argument that aviation safety related functions should be excluded from this funding reduction debate; however, the Bloomberg report seems to suggest that there may be reason to examine the towers for overstaffing.

A former FAA Assistant Administrator has suggested that there may be reason to reassess the numbers assigned to control traffic. The Bloomberg analysis indicates that there may be as much as $10,000,000 in unnecessary dollars being spent. The situation may involve reconsideration of a past (April 20111) order by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood that there be at least two controllers at each facility on overnight duty, after highly publicized incidents where a single controller was found to have been asleep during duty time. Bloomberg noted “Most towers covered by LaHood’s order don’t have enough traffic to be open overnight at all, according to FAA data.”

Now is the time for leadership in getting government spending under control. A great signal of such executive integrity would be for the Administration to assess whether these criticisms are valid and if they are, resist lawmaker and union pressure and take the fiscally responsible step of cutting where appropriate.

While Bloomberg seems to have the places where these excesses occur, their opinion may not be accurate. It is tempting to offer up $10,000,000 from the FAA for the budget chopping block, but prudence requires that a careful safety assessment be performed before such an axe is wielded.

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