WASHINGTON D.C.(IRN)-U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is blaming Republicans for short staffing the Federal Aviation Administration.
Dozens of airport construction projects across the country are on hold and thousands of federal employees are not working because Congress failed to pass legislation to keep the Federal Aviation Administration operating.
Durbin tried to pass a bill to authorize temporary funding but lawmakers didn’t vote on it. The FAA’s operating authority expired at midnight Friday. Dozens of stop-work orders were issued over the weekend for projects to build and modernize airport control towers, as well as other improvement projects.
The long-running modernization project at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport wasn’t immediately affected.
About 10 percent of the FAA’s workforce is on unpaid furlough. The funding shortage does not affect air traffic control duties. A spokesman at Lambert Airport in St. Louis says FAA workers are part of air traffic control and are not impacted.
Meanwhile, because FAA funding wasn’t extended, the 7.5 percent domestic travel tax can’t be collected by the FAA. Some airlines have upped their ticket prices by that amount, so passenger fares were unaffected. Spirit Airlines, on the other hand, is using the tax decrease as a promotion, telling consumers that they are dropping the tax from their ticket prices and passing the savings on to consumers.
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