Mayor Bartlett: FAA Shutdown Is Costing Tulsa Jobs And Cash

Wednesday, July 27th 2011, 11:11 am
By: News On 6

Emory Bryan and

TULSA, Oklahoma --  Mayor Dewey Bartlett and Airports Director Jeff Mulder held a news conference Wednesday morning to discuss the partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Leaders of the House and Senate blame each other for the funding problem that forced the FAA to shut down most of its operations.

CBS News reports the FAA's operating authority expired at midnight Friday.  As a result, dozens of airport construction projects across the country have been put on hold and thousands of federal employees furloughed.

Mayor Dewey Bartlett and Airports Director Jeff Mulder addressed the short- and long-term impact of the FAA shutdown on Tulsa International Airport and Jones Riverside Airport.

Tulsa International just completed one phase of a runway project and in two weeks would be asking for bids on the next section. That's going to be delayed because FAA employees who handle paperwork - and distribute money - are on furlough.

And no one knows when Congress will take action.

"It costs a lot of jobs; it costs us a lot of money, and it gives a lot of uncertainty on what the future is, so we're asking Congress to please look at the unintended consequences of their decisions," said Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett.

The city has already paid out $3.5 million on contracts and is waiting for federal reimbursement. The airport says the delay in funding will delay work for several hundred contract construction employees.

FAA employees in key positions have continued to work, including air traffic controllers and FAA employees who inspect the safety of planes and test pilots. No local FAA employees are on furlough. Their jobs are all related to safety - which are not affected.

They'll also call on Congress to pass a long-term FAA funding package.