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Call to Action: FAA Airport Contract Funding

Call to Action from AEEE: Contract Tower Hill Request to Airports, ATC Contractors and others interested in the FAA Contract Tower Program

A call to action has been issued by the AEEE, requesting you contact your representatives in Washington in reference to the President’s budget request for fiscal year 2015 released on March 4. Not surprisingly, it proposes to eliminate the guaranteed funding bill language for the FAA Contract Tower (FCT) Program.

With the FCT program facing significant cuts during the federal budget sequestration battle last year, you fought on the front lines with us to restore funding. Congress responded positively multiple times to our collective advocacy efforts, and eventually the fiscal year 2014 DOT/FAA Appropriations measure included bill language for full and dedicated funding for the program to continue through the current fiscal year, which ends September 30. We now need everyone to get reengaged with the release of the President’s FY ’15 budget proposal to ensure dedicated funding continues into the future!

As the House and Senate now gear up for the fiscal year 2015 Appropriations cycle, we encourage you to contact your House member(s) and your two U.S. Senators at your earliest convenience and urge them to submit requests to their respective Appropriations Committees asking that the FY 2015 DOT/FAA spending bill includes bill language providing full and dedicated funding at $149 million for the Contract Tower Program and Cost-Share Program.

The Appropriations Committees pay careful attention to requests they receive from members of the House and Senate so communications from individual offices concerning the importance of full and guaranteed funding for the Contract Tower Program as part of the FY 2015 DOT/FAA spending bill is critical. There is a formal process for communications with the Appropriations Committees that concludes on April 2 in the House and April 4 in Senate. As such, it is important that that you contact your House member(s) and Senators as soon as possible so they have time prepare their requests to send to the Appropriations Committees.

To ensure that the Appropriations Committees understand the interest that exists from individual House and Senate offices, please see DRAFT emails/letters at the end of this email for you to send to your House member(s) and both of your U.S. Senators.

The message to your elected officials and from your elected officials to the Appropriations Committees in the House and Senate is simple: Please ensure the FY 2015 DOT/FAA spending bill includes full andguaranteed funding for the Contract Tower Program and Cost-Share Program of $149 million.

Because of delays in the delivery of mail on Capitol Hill, please email or fax your letters to your congressional delegation. If needed, click on the web link below to get names and fax numbers/emails of your two Senators and House member(s).

It would be helpful if you can follow up with the appropriate congressional staff in the offices of your House member(s) and Senators a few days after you email/fax the letters to make sure they received the letter and ask if they have any questions.

It is absolutely clear that your letters, emails, calls and meetings with your congressional delegation in the past has played a key role in protecting funding for the FCT Program. Remember in Washington “it’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease" so it will be extremely helpful to get all airports with FAA contract towers engaged to make sure that dedicated funding for the program is protected.

Finally, we would encourage you to ask your local FBO’s, business operators and others in your community to send similar requests to your congressional delegation, if they were supportive of our efforts to protect contract tower funding last year.

Thank you for your time and effort on this important Hill request. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact:
Spencer Dickerson, C.M.
Senior Executive Vice President for Global Operations
601 Madison St., 4th Floor
Alexandria, VA 22314
phone 703/824-0500, ext. 130

DRAFT Contract Tower Letter from Airports to House Member(s) and Senators

The Honorable……….
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Representative _______:
The Honorable……….
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator _______:

Our airport would like to call your attention to one of the Federal Aviation Administration’s most successful and cost-effective industry/government aviation safety partnerships – the FAA Contract Tower (FCT) Program.  Your assistance in once again making sure funding is protected for this vital air traffic safety program would be greatly appreciated by our aviation community.

To ensure the continuation of the Contract Tower Program, we are requesting that Congress, as part of the FY 2015 DOT/FAA spending bill, provide full and dedicated funding for the program of $149 million.  Specifically, we are seeking adoption of the following under the FAA “Operations” heading that is consistent to what was included in the FY 2014 omnibus spending bill:

FY 2015 Appropriations Bill Language:
Provided further, That of the funds appropriated under this heading, not less than $149,000,000 shall be for the contract tower program, of which $9,500,000 is for the contract tower cost share program.

We urge your support for this language, and we ask that you communicate that support to the Appropriations Committee through the programmatic request process specified by the Committee.

Currently, 252 airports in 46 states participate in the Contract Tower Program.  Our airport is very pleased to be a part of the program, which nationwide handles approximately 28 percent of control tower operations.  The safety, cost-effectiveness, and air traffic efficiency record of the FCT program has been validated numerous times over the past two decades in several reports by the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General and FAA safety audits.

As a result of this proven government/industry partnership, the FCT program:  (1) enhances aviation safety at smaller airports that otherwise would not have a tower; (2) provides significant savings to the FAA and taxpayers; (3) helps small airports with retaining and developing commercial air service and general aviation; (4) promotes economic development and creates jobs locally, and (5) consistently receives high marks for customer service from aviation users and pilots.  Moreover, federal contract towers operate together with FAA-staffed facilities throughout the country as part of a unified national air traffic control system.

(You should include any anecdotal information that highlights the importance of the contract tower program to your community, i.e., safety, air service and general aviation/corporate aviation development and retainment.).

Thank you for your time and efforts to support the FAA Contract Tower Program. We look forward to working with you and your staff to ensure its future success.
Sincerely yours,
Your Name

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