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Officials: LaHood pledged to keep small towers open

Air Traffic Control
John Moore, Getty Images

WASHINGTON (AP) — Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is said to be assuring lawmakers that 149 small airport towers will remain open.

He’s telling them the Obama administration will prevent the closure of those towers, as well as end furloughs of air traffic controllers nationwide, as a result of legislation passed by Congress. That’s according to officials involved in negotiations on the bill.

The disclosure came as senators put signatures on a letter to LaHood, saying that their support of the legislation was based on the understanding that the towers would be “fully funded.”

The 149 towers at small airports had been ticketed for possible closure in June as the FAA carries out its share of the across-the-board spending cuts that took effect in March.

A spokesman for LaHood says the department is reviewing the legislation and will make a decision about the towers.

Today’s developments coincided with congressional passage of a follow-up bill that fixed a stenographic error in the legislation that cleared last week. Now that the letter ‘s’ has been added to the word ‘account,’ President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill quickly.

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