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Tue, Apr 23, 2013

Florida Governor Urges President Obama To Avoid FAA Furloughs

Letter To The President Expresses Concern For State's Tourism Industry

It's no secret that Florida depends on tourism for a great deal of its state revenue, and millions of those tourists arrive and depart on commercial airliners. So when the President of the United States, the Secretary of Transportation, and the FAA administrator warn of "significant delays" and other problems in air travel due to the furloughs of air traffic controllers, it only makes sense that the Governor of the state would push back.

To that end, Florida Governor Rick Scott (pictured) has sent a letter to the President saying that the furloughs could adversely affect tourism in the state, and cost some Floridians their jobs.

"These furloughs will have a devastating impact on Florida families by creating unnecessary delays that will impact Florida airports," Scott wrote. "According to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), with Florida airports accommodating more than 142 million passengers annually, we would experience a direct economic output reduction of $19 million annually, or $1.6 million per month. Florida communities will be disproportionately impacted by these furloughs as we are the only state in the nation with four large hub airports, including Orlando International, Tampa International, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International and Miami International. Moreover, these furloughs would create a ripple effect causing additional delays at other hub airports such as Jacksonville International, Southwest Florida International and Palm Beach International. These delays will cost time and resources, hinder domestic and international commerce, and undoubtedly have long term consequences for Florida’s tourism industry, which all impact Florida families."

Scott points out in the letter that it is "disturbing" that the FAA and DOT have chosen to furlough air traffic controllers while the agency has $2.7 billion available in non-personnel spending that "could be utilized to help mitigate impacts to critical personnel. Once again, this is another example of the federal government using a meat cleaver, when they should be using a scalpel to reduce government spending."

Scott said in the letter that Florida's economy is on the rebound, and that the decisions by the FAA "are a hindrance to our continued economic growth and job creation."

FMI: www.flgov.com


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