Government shutdown won’t hinder air traffic control in Cobb
by Nikki Wiley
September 25, 2013 04:10 PM | 2364 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As Congress continues to risk a government shutdown by delaying the passage of a federal budget, the county’s airport is preparing for the worst.
As Congress continues to risk a government shutdown by delaying the passage of a federal budget, the county’s airport is preparing for the worst.

If Congress continues to delay passage of a federal budget and a government shutdown would not stop air traffic control at the county airport.

The Cobb Board of Commissioners approved Tuesday an agreement that would allow the county to fund air traffic control operations at the airport in the event the FAA discontinues the funding due to the government budget stalemate.

The agreement would allow the airport to draw on $261,416 in its operating account to pay for air traffic control operations for up to 12 months, if needed.

If the FAA does continue to fund air traffic control operations, the money would stay in the airport’s budget for other uses.

It’s unlikely that a government shutdown would have a far reaching impact on the operation of county government, Cobb Chairman Tim Lee said earlier this week.

About 200 aircraft are based at the airport that sees an average of 170 takeoffs or landings each day. A 2010 state economic impact study said the airport supports 842 jobs and pumps $112.4 million into the local economy.

Other county departments would be only minimally impacted by a shutdown, Lee said, with some grants for certain programs in danger of being interrupted.

With the Oct. 1 deadline to avoid a shutdown looming, Republicans and Democrats in Congress are in a stalemate with both accusing the other side of not compromising. Conservatives want to see Obamacare defunded while Democrats defend the law.

Lawmakers are considering separate bills that would let the United States avoid a first-ever default on its debt obligations. House Republicans are planning legislation that would attach a one-year delay in the health care law in exchange for the ability to increase the nation’s credit limit of $16.7 trillion.

The potential shutdown is different from sequestration — across the board spending cuts — that took place last spring. Sequestration threatened to close 30 percent of all control towers in the country, but that issue was resolved in Congress.

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