Friday, May 10, 2013

Federal funding for Idaho Falls airport tower now good through September

The terminal and tower at Idaho Falls Regional Airport
The Transportation Department announced today that the Idaho Falls and Pocatello airport control towers will continue to receive federal funding at least through Sept. 30.

The eastern Idaho towers were among 149 that had been marked for closure after across-the-board spending cuts went into effect in March. Last month, the White House announced the towers would remain open through June 15. A brief statement issued by the Federal Aviation Administration this morning said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has determined there is enough extra money, under a bill passed by Congress last month, to keep the towers open through the end of the budget year.

At lower-traffic airports, the control towers are operated by contractors for the FAA. Five people work in the tower at Idaho Falls Regional Airport.

In early April, Airport Director Craig Davis said he would be shifting money in the airport's budget from maintenance and other areas to keep the tower operating through Oct. 1. After that, it would be up to the City Council to decide whether to keep the tower in operation.

The annual cost of operating the tower is close to $425,000, he said.