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Anti-Airport Activists Petition Congress Members to Close Tower at Santa Monica Airport

Santa Monica Wellbeing ProjectTHE MAYORS CHALLENGE
City of Santa Monica Wellbeing Project

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

By Lookout Staff

March 5, 2013 -- Anti-Airport Activists petitioned Congress members Henry Waxman and Karen Bass Monday, calling for the closure of Santa Monica Airport's (SMO) control tower.

The letter sent on behalf of Citizens Against Santa Monica Airport Traffic and Sunset Park Anti-Airport, Inc. comes days after the Congress missed its Friday deadline to reach a budget agreement, forcing budget cuts across the board, known as sequestration.

SMO's control tower was on a list of 241 towers at small airports that the Department of Transportation was eyeing for closure as part of its plan to cut $1 billion in response to sequestration.

“We urge Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to close the air traffic control tower Santa Monica Airport (SMO), as part of the FAA response to sequestration,” the letter says.

“We urge the FAA to leave open other FAA towers and facilities in preference to SMO, where there is a long history of declining flight operations and growing community opposition,” it says.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) alone will have to cut some $600 million from its budget and in order to do so, will close down about 100 air traffic control towers at small airports -- those that support fewer than 150,000 flights a year -- around the country.

The letter claims that “By July 2015, there is every reason to believe that SMO will cease all but the most rudimentary airport operations.”

In 2015, the lease governing SMO -- held by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) -- expires, leaving open the question of whether the airport might be shut down entirely.

The letter, which will also be forwarded to Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, “is designed to ensure that the Secretary is aware of local 'facts on the ground' here in Santa Monica and West Los Angeles.”

The letter claims that “the FAA has no significant role supporting the local economy here.” And that FAA resources should be used where they make more of an impact.

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