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FAA Announces Tower Closures Coming In April

The control tower at Troutdale Airport in Troutdale, Ore., one of the towers slated for closure.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced Friday that it will close 149 air traffic control towers from April 7 due to budget constraints. The number announced is 40 fewer than the FAA originally planned to close in response to the federal government's budget sequestration, as Reuters reports:

In early March, the FAA proposed closing 189 contract air traffic control towers as part of its plan to meet the $637 million in cuts required under budget sequestration.

In its release publicizing the decision, FAA officials acknowledged the pressure it was under from both sides -- budget and public -- as it came to a decision:

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

"We will work with the airports and the operators to ensure the procedures are in place to maintain the high level of safety at non-towered airports," said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit www.npr.org.

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