FAA to close airport towers in St. Pete, Lakeland - FOX 13 News

FAA to close airport towers in St. Pete, Lakeland

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

The FAA is going ahead with its plan to close control towers at dozens of small airports nationwide, the agency announced Friday, although a few of the originally planned closures will be averted.

In early March, the FAA proposed to close 189 contract air traffic control towers as part of its plan to meet the $637 million in cuts required under budget sequestration. After some public outcry, the agency agreed to review the list.

Friday, the updated list was released showing 149 towers to be closed as soon as April 7.

"We heard from communities across the country about the importance of their towers and these were very tough decisions," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in Friday's FAA press release. "Unfortunately we are faced with a series of difficult choices that we have to make to reach the required cuts under sequestration."

In the Tampa Bay area, the towers at Albert Whitted Airport in downtown St. Pete and at Lakeland Linder Airport will be closed. Both were on the FAA's original list as well.

The agency said that local communities have the option of assuming the cost of tower operation if they choose.

SEE THE FULL LIST OF CLOSURES (PDF): http://www.faa.gov/news/media/fct_closed.pdf

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