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May 11, 2013

FAA keeps air traffic towers open

NORMAN — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, praised the announcement on Friday from Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood that the Federal Aviation Administration will transfer funds to keep 149 contract air traffic control towers open. 

The decision includes Wiley Post in Oklahoma City, Norman Max Westheimer, Stillwater Regional, and Lawton-Fort Sill in Oklahoma.

“Secretary LaHood’s announcement comes at a critical time for our nation’s air traffic control system,” said Inhofe. “The longer this decision was delayed, the more it would have negatively impacted the safety and integrity of our aviation system. I would like to thank Secretary LaHood for fulfilling my previous requests.”

On May 3, Inhofe joined 41 other senators in sending a letter to Secretary LaHood and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta requesting full funding for the Contract Control Tower Program.

On May 10, Inhofe spoke to Secretary LaHood and again urged him to use the authority of the Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013 to keep the contract towers open.

Enid Woodring and Ardmore Municipal contract control towers were allowed to remain open by a previous decision from the FAA. Local airport officials said Westheimer was facing a June 15 deadline for FAA funding, but OU officials had proposed stepping in with a plan to keep the tower open.

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