US aviation jobs across all disciplines, as well as thousands of construction jobs, will be at risk if the new Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) budget is not approved, the Obama administration has warned.
The bleak outlook was voiced this week with the hope of encouraging the Senate to come to a decisive and positive resolution on the $2.5 billion airport projects bill. If not passed, airport development projects in all 50 states would grind to a halt, and up to 4,000 FAA employees would have to be furloughed until an agreement can be reached.
Transportation secretary, Ray LaHood told a press conference that the effects of a stalemate would be close to disastrous.
“If we are not able to fund these projects these people that are working on these projects will have to leave the job site on Saturday,” he said, adding that airlines would not be allowed to collect some $200 million per week in ticket taxes if it was not approved.
The bill in question has been approved by the House, but is stalling in the Senate. At the center of it is a proposal that would cut some subsidies to airlines that operate flights to underserved, mainly rural areas. Democrats have criticized Republicans for “playing politics” with it – pushing service cuts in the home states of Senate Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of Montana.