FAA Cancels Ramona Airport Traffic Control Tower Closure
Friday, May 10, 2013
After the shifting of funds and resistance from numerous residents and even local politicians, Ramona Airport's traffic control tower will remain open and operating through the fiscal year, the Federal Aviation Administration announced Friday.
The tower was one of 149 across the nation to close come June, but a recent shift of $253 million from other accounts in the Department of Transportation have saved it and the other towers at risk.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced today that the department has determined that the recently enacted Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013 will allow the FAA to transfer sufficient funds to end employee furloughs and keep the 149 low activity contract towers--which include those in Ramona, San Diego, Pacoima, Lancaster, Fullerton and Riverside--open for the "remainder of fiscal year 2013."
County Board of Supervisor Dianne Jacob has urged residents in Ramona numerous times to speak out against the closure, encouraging locals to write to the FAA in protest of the closure.
"Without controllers in the tower, no one would be available to perform the vital air traffic functions in a disaster, let alone on a day-to-day operation," Jacob said in March about the tower's crucial part in Ramona. "Cal Fire's aerial capabilities would be crippled in a region prone to wildfire."
The talk of the 149 tower closures came in March, when $637 million in cuts required under the federal budget sequestration.
Originally scheduled to close on April 7, the FAA announced the delay of the Ramona Airport tower closure, pushing the four-week phase out of the 149 towers back to June.
The FAA said $10 million of the newly-shifted funds will go toward reducing cuts and delays in core NextGen programs and will allocate approximately $11 million to partially restore the support of infrastructure in the national airspace system.