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Airport Control Towers to Receive Federal Funding

Air Traffic Control Towers across the country, including five in Maryland, should be receiving $140 million in federal funding.

FREDERICK, Md. - Air traffic controllers at both the Hagerstown Regional Airport and Frederick Municipal were on edge last spring when their jobs were on the chopping block, after the Federal Aviation Administration announced it would be cutting 149 control towers across the country.

"It really would decrease our traffic flow and decrease the viability of the airport. The biggest thing with having that tower is furthering Frederick and the economic development in the region,” said Chris Lawler, Manager at Frederick Municipal Airport.

 

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 includes $140 million to fund 149 federal contract air traffic control towers around the country.

 

Both airports in Hagerstown and Frederick are reassured the towers will receive the funding they need to continue operating, ending the uncertainty of the FAA’s announcement from last year.

 

“Funding the control towers also allows us to fully reap the investments in both airports that we've made over the years. When you examine the region, it is clear that the Frederick and Hagerstown airports are assets that have the potential to provide larger benefits in the future,” said Congressman John Delaney, of Maryland’s 6th Congressional District.

 

The Frederick Tower took nearly ten years to build and has been open for less than two years. Delaney says the Hagerstown and Frederick airports support more than 2,500 jobs and $200 million in business revenue.

 

Frederick Airport Manager Chris Lawler says a lot of corporate traffic won’t come into an airport if it doesn’t have a control tower in operation. Lawler says if the airport didn’t have the funding to operate; it could ultimately end up hurting the local economy.  

Lawler says it’s also a safety issue. 

“There's a lot of different traffic, there's training flights, corporate jets coming in and out of here and the tower provides that tower separation necessary to run a safe airport.”

Congressman John Delaney says the bill is likely to be considered by the House of Representatives this week, and all parties are confident the bill will pass.

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