Senator Encouraging Airports To Appeal To DOT Ahead Of Potential Tower Shutdown

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The future of air traffic control towers at Topeka’s two airports will be decided by the Federation Aviation Administration Friday.

Authorities say it's likely that the FAA will cut funding for the towers at Forbes Field and Billard Airport.

An amendment sponsored by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) that would allot 50 million dollars to keep control towers open will not make it to the Senate floor. He is exploring other options that would keep the towers open, including legal action.

He says the seven airports in Kansas that could be affected by the FAA’s funding cuts need control towers to effectively monitor the significant traffic each sees daily and ensure the safety of all passengers.

Moran says the Department of Transportation is considering requests from aviation officials who claim that shutting down specific towers would be damaging to national interests. He encourages those in Kansas to make that argument.

“We're certainly supporting the appeals of Kansas airports and Forbes and Manhattan because of the military aspect of what happens at those airports,” said Moran. “So the next step is to encourage the department of transportation to grant as many waivers as they can grant.”

Moran says having a control tower at Forbes would help its chance at housing the KC-46A tanker, but not having one would not disqualify the 190th.

He also says losing towers would make it harder to keep and expand commercial air service at Kansas airports.