US Senate Passes THUD Bill

It provides funding for control towers in Md., including Frederick.

The US Senate has passed legislation that funds Federal Aviation Administration control towers in Maryland and other states, including Frederick and Hagestown. Senator Barbara Mikulski’s office says the Transportation Housing Urban Development and Related Agencies Appropriations bill provides $159-million dollars for FAA control towers across the United States, including Maryland, which are  located at Frederick Municipal Airport, Hagerstown Regional Airport, Martin State Airport, Easton/Newman Field and Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport.

“This bill is good news for federal contract air traffic control towers and the communities and jobs that rely on them,” Senator Mikulski says in a statement. “In recent years, these contract towers and their communities have faced shutdowns furloughs and uncertainty.”

In 2013, the US Department of Transportation announced plans to shut down 149 federal air traffic control towers due to the sequester law, That included  the one in Frederick. But in April of that year, Congress passed legislation giving the FAA the flexibility to shift funding to prevent  furloughs of air traffic controllers and to keep the towers running.

The THUD Appropriations bill continues to fund  FAA’s Airport Improvement Program grants at $3.35-billion. This program provides both formula and discretionary funding to airports for capital improvements and repairs, such as new runway aprons, lighting, planning and land purchases.

The THUD legislation will be presented  to a House and Senate Conference Committee which will work out the differences. Then it will be presented to the House and Senate for approval. After that, it goes  to the President for his signature.
The amount for these towers across the country totals $159-million. The bill also includes more than three-billion dollars for the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program. It provides funding for such projects new runway aprons, lighting, planning and land purchases.