Budget cuts could mean FAA furloughs, air traffic control tower shutdowns in Oklahoma

Air traffic control towers at airports in Oklahoma City, Norman, Stillwater and other cities might have to shut down and thousands of FAA employees in Oklahoma City could face furloughs if budget cuts are triggered next week, the Transportation Department says.
by Chris Casteel Modified: February 22, 2013 at 8:37 pm •  Published: February 22, 2013
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Other departments

Major entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are mostly exempt from the spending cuts, as are food stamps.

But most federal departments will have to cut an estimated $85 billion from March through September, and many are warning that they won't be able to do it without furloughs.

The Department of Defense notified 800,000 civilian employees this week that they may be furloughed in April.

The department, which will absorb about $46 billion of the cuts, also has said that training and maintenance would be sharply curtailed, along with new weapons purchases.

The Defense Department has nearly 24,000 civilian workers in Oklahoma, and the Pentagon has estimated a payroll hit of $129 million in the state if they are furloughed 22 days from late April through September.

The Justice Department is warning that FBI agents, federal prison workers and prosecutors could be furloughed. And the Agriculture Department says nutrition aid will be eliminated for many women, infants and children.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, said Friday that the White House, in the midst of the warnings about massive spending cuts, should cancel a 100-city tour of federal officials to talk about proposals in the president's State of the Union speech.

“If Washington is truly cutting spending on missions many consider vital, how can we at the same time promise and promote more financial assistance, much less afford this mammoth 100-city cross country tour?” Coburn said in a letter to a White House budget official.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Friday, “I appreciate that a Republican member has sent this around. I just don't have an answer for it, but I'll look into it.”

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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AT A GLANCE

Oklahoma airports could be affected

The Transportation Department on Friday released a list of airports that

could be affected.

Possible tower closures

Airports where air traffic control towers could be closed:

Ardmore Municipal

Lawton-Fort Sill Regional

University of Oklahoma Westheimer

Wiley Post

Stillwater Regional

Enid Wooding Regional

Possible elimination

of overnight shifts

Air traffic control towers

where overnight shifts could be eliminated:

Oklahoma City

Tulsa

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