Saturday, July 23, 2011

FAA funding ends; almost 4,000 at FAA may be furloughed -

FAA funding ends; almost 4,000 at FAA may be furloughed -

Almost 4,000 Federal Aviation Administration workers are facing furloughs after Congress adjourned Friday without passing a measure to reauthorize the agency's funding, according to the Transportation Department. A $2.5 billion program providing grants for airport construction projects also will shut down, and thousands of construction jobs could be jeopardized.

In a news release, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he was disappointed that lawmakers did not pass a reauthorization and that funding was set to run out at midnight Friday. "Because of their inaction, states and airports won't be able to work on their construction projects, and too many people will have to go without a paycheck," he said. "This is no way to run the best aviation system in the world."

Air traffic controllers will remain on the job, but the furloughs will affect many FAA engineers, scientists, computer specialists, community planners and others. According to the Department of Transportation, FAA workers could be furloughed in 35 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

Rep. Nick Rahall, D-West Virginia, heaped blame on House Republicans. In a news release, Rahall said, "The House Republican leadership is willing to lay off tens of thousands of middle class American construction workers and jeopardize billions of dollars in airport construction simply to score a few political points for Tea Party extremists."

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