Dozens of airport construction projects across the U.S. have been halted and nearly 4,000 federal workers are temporarily out of work, freezing $2.5 billion in airport construction money – with no end in sight. The shutdown has led to widespread job loss and cheaper airline tickets.
The L.A. Times reported that in California, construction of air traffic control towers at Oakland International and Palm Springs airports could be affected. Officials at LAX and Long Beach airports said they would not be immediately affected because their finances allow them to continue projects and be reimbursed by the FAA later.
The Times also reported that the House passed a version of the funding authorization on Friday, adding provisions to an otherwise routine extension, making it harder for airline and rail workers to unionize. The Obama administration officials have said the shutdown will not affect air safety. Airlines though, will lose the authority to collect about $200 million a week in ticket taxes. The taxes that go into a trust fund pay for FAA programs, including those jobs that have been furloughed.
These are people with families who do not deserve to be in this position during these tough economic times. Unfortunately, long-term ripple effects of the shutdown will be felt throughout the country. The only way workers can get back to work is for the Senate to pass the House-approved bill.