The 149 small airport traffic-control towers slated for reduced hours or closure June 15, including Trenton-Mercer Airport, will stay open, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced Friday. The Federal Aviation Administration will transfer sufficient funds to end employee furloughs and keep the 149 towers open for the remainder of the fiscal year through Sept. 30.
The FAA will also put $10 million towards reducing cuts and delays in "core NextGen programs and will allocate about $11 million to partially restore the support of infrastructure in the national airspace system," LaHood said. Next Generation, or NextGen, is technology that relies on global positioning satellites, like GPS in a car, to transmit a plane's location, supplementing older radar navigation.
Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes said, "We're happy the FAA has finally decided to do what's important for economically vibrant regions like Mercer County and that we're not going to have to bear the brunt of the cuts in FAA funding as envisioned by the sequester." - Linda Loyd