Florida Governor Rick Scott: Stop air traffic controller furloughs

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - It was a tough start to the week for many air travelers as federal budget cuts led to cascading delays along the East Coast Monday morning.

Some flights out of New York and Washington were delayed by more than two hours as the Federal Aviation Administration kept planes on the ground. The federal agency has said furloughs of air traffic controllers could lead to delays if there weren't enough people to monitor busy air corridors.

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For instance, the 8 a.m. US Airways shuttle pushed back from the gate at Reagan National Airport six minutes early but didn't take off until 9:58 a.m. The plane landed at 10:48 a.m. — more than two and a half hours later than its scheduled time.

Florida Governor Rick Scott is asking President Obama to stop the furlough of air traffic controllers.

Scott sent a letter to the president, saying the furloughs will have a devastating impact on Florida families by creating unnecessary delays at Florida airports.

The governor said Florida communities will be disproportionately impacted because the state has four large hub airports, including Tampa International Airport.

"This will have a significant impact on our state," Scott said Monday at TIA. "This doesn't make any sense."

Scott said the Federal Aviation Administration can make $2.7 billion in cuts that do not affect air traffic personnel staffing.

"This is exactly the federal government doing the wrong thing," he said.

According to the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida airports accommodate more than 142 million passengers annually. Scott said the furloughs would cause a direct economic output reduction of $19 million annually.
 

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