Furlough impact estimated to cost Florida $1.6 million a month
Gov. Rick Scott has requested the Obama Administration halt the furloughs for the nation’s air traffic controllers, saying the anticipated airport delays will have a devastating impact on Floridians and the economy of the Sunshine State.
“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 wrote President Obama on Sunday.
Scott’s letter was released as the one-day per two-week pay period furloughs went into effect on Sunday as part of sequestration cuts.
The cuts were called for under the federal law requiring $1.2 trillion in across-the-board spending cuts as a penalty for Congress not reaching a deal on specific budget balancing plans.
Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Michael Huerta has warned the furloughs will result in delays up to several hours at the largest hub airports, including Miami International and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International.
Scott estimated the furloughs – to last through September – will cause a $1.6 million a month hit to the state’s economy.
“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,” Scott wrote. “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.”
Last month, the FAA delayed until June 15 the sequestration-tied closure of 149 federally contracted air traffic control towers, including 14 in Florida.