Update: I found this table of where and what the stopped projects are. All of NJ’s are at the same emerging South Jersey airport; search the table for Atlantic City.
Nearly 650 South Jersey workers were furloughed over the weekend at the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center near Atlantic City, as the FAA halted work on air travel infrastructure projects across the country. Construction workers. Planners. Engineers. All were sent home after Congress failed to pass legislation re-authorizing federal ticket taxes – these are used to fund building projects for facilities like new runways and new control towers and modernizing air traffic control systems. Nearly 4,000 FAA employees across the country are furloughed without pay. Plus 87,000 construction jobs stopped, across the US. To maintain a safety baseline, the shutdown can only be partial. Unaffected are air traffic controllers and safety inspectors, who will remain on the job. So will FAA employees who inspect planes and test pilots.
Today, senators Lautenberg and Menendez fired off a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urging him to steer his GOP conference to resolution that gets FAA back up. Our senators peg Republicans in both the House and Senate for the failure. GOP lawmakers tacked on a list of provisions to a long-term spending bill for the FAA approved by the GOP-led House this spring. On that list is a GOP-driven proposal, sought by the airline industry, that would make it more difficult for airline workers to unionize.
And they’re not budging, even as the FAA warns that grinding these projects to a halt could significantly increase their ultimate cost to taxpayers. Even though FAA’s also unable to collect the full measure of taxes on airline tickets bought, depriving the government of revenue (with most airlines pocketing that as a bonus instead of passing that savings on to you).
Senators’ letter, after the jump.