Connecticut mayors skip letter on air towers

Seventy mayors from across the nation signed a letter Tuesday urging the Federal Aviation Administration to reverse its decision to close air towers at 149 airports. Although six airports would be affected in Connecticut — all but Bradley International Airport — none of the state’s mayors signed the letter drafted by the Alliance for Aviation Across America.

“Shutting down these towers would have a devastating impact on our communities… Whether it’s transporting patients from rural areas to medical centers to receive treatments, reuniting veterans with their families, transporting organs or blood to communities in need, or supporting our nation’s agricultural industry and food supply, airports connect our communities in almost every way imaginable,” the letter said.

A spokesman for the alliance said all the nation’s mayors were asked to sign the letter. But the urgency of the situation may not have given all of them enough time to respond, he said.

The FAA plans to shut down air towers staffed by air traffic controllers who are contract workers, not FAA employees. The move to shut the towers on June 15 is aimed at saving money, a requirement of sequestration, or recent across-the-board budget cuts.

Congress last week approved legislation to give the FAA more flexibility on how it makes its budget cuts. The FAA hopes to use the flexibility to avoid furloughs of air traffic controllers.

But it’s not known if the agency can avoid tower shutdowns.