Contractors have been told to stop work on critical airport modernisation projects around the United States after Congress failed to pass legislation giving the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) the authority for work to continue.
Dozens of “stop work orders” have been issued for major projects designed to build and modernise control towers and other aviation infrastructure from coast to coast.
“Construction workers across America will lose their jobs and local communities will be hurt the longer this goes on,” said transportation secretary Ray LaHood.
“Congress needs to pass an FAA bill to prevent further economic damage.
“This is no way to run the best aviation system in the world.
Construction workers, engineers and planners were told not to come to worksites across the country after the FAA was forced to issue stop work orders on projects ranging from the construction of new air traffic control towers to the rehabilitation and modernisation of air traffic facilities.
Nearly 4,000 FAA personnel, many needed to oversee various aspects of these projects, were furloughed on Saturday.
Stopping work on these projects could significantly increase the ultimate costs of construction for taxpayers.
“Unless Congress acts quickly, more work on projects critical to our nation’s aviation system will come to a halt.
“Work is stopping on construction and planning projects, NextGen system testing, and airport certification.
“The list goes on and on and this is just the beginning,” said FAA administrator Randy Babbitt.
Some of these projects include:
Las Vegas, Nevada: A more than $43 million project to build a new air traffic control tower at McCarran International Airport. Contractor: Archer Western Contractors.
Palm Springs, California: A $24.5 million project to build a new air traffic control tower at Palm Springs International Airport. Contractors: Swinterton Builders.
Oakland, California: A $31 million project to build a new air traffic control tower at Oakland International Airport. Contractor: Devcon Construction.
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania: A more than $18 million project to build a new air traffic control tower at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport. Contractor: Donald J. Keating Co.
Kalamazoo, Michigan: A more than $14 million project to build a new air traffic control tower at Battle Creek International Airport. Contractor: Skanska.
Gulfport, Mississippi: A nearly $12 million project to build a new air traffic control tower at Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport. Contractor: Flintco, Inc.
Queens, NY: A more than $6 million project to demolish the old air traffic control tower at LaGuardia Airport. Work was supposed to begin on Saturday. Contractor: Paul J. Scariano Inc.
Additionally, the FAA has issued stop work orders for $370 million in contracts with Jacobs Engineering of Pasadena, California.
The company is contracted to do all the architect, design, engineering and planning services for existing and future air traffic facilities.