Nelson Vows To Save Air Traffic Control Towers

Apr 12, 2013

U-S Senator Bill Nelson says he's co-sponsored a bipartisan bill that would prevent the Federal Aviation Administration from closing nearly 150 air traffic control towers around the country, including 14 in Florida.

Nelson was in Jacksonville on Friday meeting with regional airport officials.       

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson meets with area regional airport officials at his office in Jacksonville
Credit Cyd Hoskinson

One airport on the FAA's list is the Northeast Florida Regional Airport in St. Augustine.

Airport Director Ed Weueller says shutting down his tower would be like replacing the traffic signal at a busy intersection with a four-way stop. "Suddenly, everyone has to negotiate that intersection on their own. They have to know what everybody else at the intersection is doing before they can safely cross it." He said "An air traffic controller serves as that traffic signal."

Nelson's bill co-sponsored by Sen. Richard Blumenthat (D-CT),  Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and several others  would prohibit the FAA from suspending or terminating the operation of any air traffic control tower before the end of the 2014 fiscal year.

The bill could be discussed at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on aviation safety on Tuesday.