Scott asks Obama to stop air-traffic furloughs

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Governor Rick Scott appealed to President Barack Obama on Sunday to stop “using a meat cleaver” approach to the sequester of the Federal Aviation Administration budget, which he warned will have “a devastating impact” on Florida tourism that will ripple throughout the state’s economy, reports Bill Cotterell for the Florida Current.

In a letter to the White House, the governor said the president highlighted the importance of transpiration during his March 29 visit to Miami. But he said the FAA began to furlough 10 percent of the nation’s air traffic controllers on Sunday because of the budget freeze.

Scott said Florida is the only state with four major air hubs — Miami, Orlando, Tampa and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airports — and that the furloughs will cause delays at Jacksonville, Palm Beach and Southwest Florida International Airports. He said theFlorida Department of Transportation has estimated that with Florida airports accommodating more than 142 million passengers per year, the cost of delays could reach $19 million.

“These furloughs will have a devastating impact on Florida families by creating unnecessary delays that will impact Florida airports,” Scott wrote to the president.

He said the U.S. Department of Transportation claims the $637 million in budget reductions due to the sequester “could be addressed with common-sense budgeting.” Citing a U.S. Housecommittee report, Scott said the FAA budget has doubled in less than two decades, and the agency has $2.7 billion in non-personnel spending that could be cut to soften the impact on air traffic control.

“Once again, this is another example of the federal government using a meat cleaver, when they should be using a scalpel to reduce government spending,” Scott wrote.

More from Bill Cotterell here.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.