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Could the Congressional Budget Crunch Shut Your Airport?

If neither side blinks in Congress’ game of chicken over the budget, as many as 106 airports could lose control tower service and have to shut down in January. So says a new report from the Center for American Progress. If the lawmakers can’t agree to a budget, automatic cuts will go into effect, and those cuts will affect most federal services across the board.

The report links to an interactive table showing all of the airports predicted to close. Some of the airports on the list are quite large and surprisingly important, including 18 that board more than 500,000 passengers annually. Among those top fields: Savannah, Long Island MacArthur (Islip), Sanford, Palm Springs, Truax Field (Madison), Burlington, and Hilo. This cut list isn’t based entirely on numbers of passengers: Many much smaller airports will remain open, says the report, although the author doesn’t say exactly how he developed his specific list.

Clearly, this report originates at an organization with a known political bias, and it is not official in any sense. And in releasing this report, the Center may well be pursuing its own political agenda. Regardless of any political viewpoint, however, automatic budget cuts would undoubtedly filter down to the FAA and ultimately to air travelers.

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