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Support for Contract Tower Program funding urged

AOPA and eight other aviation organizations have signed a letter urging the chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee to support a funding level of not less than $170 million for the Contract Tower Program in the fiscal 2020 appropriations bill.

Photo by Christopher Rose

The program enjoys strong bipartisan support and has provided essential, cost-effective air traffic safety services for more than 30 years, with 256 smaller airports in 46 states now participating, said the letter to committee Chairwoman Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.). A similar letter was sent to other appropriations committee leaders in Congress.

The program’s control towers handle 28 percent of all such operations in the United States, but only account for about 14 percent of the FAA’s budget for air traffic control tower operations—saving the FAA and taxpayers approximately $200 million a year, said the letter signed by AOPA President Mark Baker and leaders of the other groups.

In addition to contributing to the functioning of the national air transportation system, the Contract Tower Program plays a key role in disaster relief, law enforcement, emergency medical operations, economic development, and military readiness and security.

“The bottom line is that absent this highly successful government/industry partnership, many local communities and smaller airports would not receive the significant safety benefits of ATC service,” the letter said.

In addition to AOPA, the letter was also signed by the U.S. Contract Tower Association, Regional Airline Association, National Business Aviation Association, National Air Transportation Association, Airports Council International–North America, National Association of State Aviation Officials, Air Traffic Control Association, and Cargo Airline Association.

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 35-year AOPA member.
Topics: Advocacy, ATC

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