Sen. Durbin: Bloomington airport tower will remain open

By WEEK Reporter

May 10, 2013 Updated May 10, 2013 at 10:29 PM CDT

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) says the control tower at Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington will remain open.

Durbin said Friday that the U.S. Department of Transportation has confirmed to him that control towers slated for closure at five Illinois airports will remain open.

Towers at the Bloomington airport, St. Louis Regional Airport, Decatur Airport, Southern Illinois Airport and Waukegan Regional Airport were previously scheduled to close on June 15. The closures were a direct result of sequestration cuts.

In April, Congress passed legislation to redistribute funding and avoid air-traffic controller furloughs. Earlier this week, the Federal Aviation Administration announced that three Illinois airports, including Peoria International Airport, will not have their midnight shifts eliminated as previously announced.

“We fight for air service in downstate Illinois and closing the contract towers would have, at a minimum, slowed down flights to five airports,” said Durbin. “I worked with Secretary LaHood and the White House to avoid this unfortunate impact of sequestration and appreciate this positive response.”

Officials at Central Illinois Regional Airport estimated they would have had to increase the annual operating budget by 22 percent to make up for the sequester cuts.

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