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Commissioner Sue Gunzburger and others fight to keep North Perry Air Traffic Control Tower open

Commissioner and other fight to keep North Perry Air Traffic Control Tower open

Commissioner Sue Gunzburger and others fight to keep North Perry Air Traffic Control Tower open

Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (FL-24) and city officials join effort for sustainable funding 

Pictured l to r: Pembroke Pines Commissioner Jay Schwartz, Miramar Mayor Lori Moseley, Pembroke Pines Vice Mayor Car Shechter, Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis, Pembroke Pines Commissioner Iris Siple, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (FL-24), Broward County Commissioner Sue Gunzburger, Miasha Williams representing Congressman Alcee Hastings’ office, and Tony Saavedra, Union President North Perry Airport Air Traffic Controllers.

Submitted by Kimberly Maroe

      Broward County Commissioner Sue Gunzburger, concerned about the safety and welfare of residents around the North Perry Airport, accompanied U.S. Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis, Miramar Mayor Lori Mosely and airport staff on a tour of the airport’s tower today.

     “We don’t want to see lives lost. The Broward Commission approved emergency funding of $43,000 monthly to keep this tower open through September, short-term funding. We have to believe that Washington, D.C., cares about the welfare and safety of people living near this airport. And there are jobs at stake. Three air traffic controllers will lose their jobs, these are war veterans, specially trained and highly skilled employees,” said Commissioner Gunzburger. “I thank you Congresswoman Wilson for being here on the ground with us and doing what you can to ensure the safety of Broward residents.” The funding was taken from the capital improvements budget at the North Perry Airport to keep the tower open through September.

     Broward Commissioners approved the emergency funding on Tuesday after unexpected notification that the Federal Aviation Administration would be closing the tower at midnight on April 6, as a result of government sequestration impacts. The tower at North Perry Airport is one of 149 contract towers, nationally, designated for closure.

     “I co-authored a bill in Congress that would ban sequestration and we could not get one Republican to sign our bill. I am concerned about the many schools that surround this airport, the senior center that is nearby, not to mention the impact of the loss of jobs. We must begin a national movement against sequestration, which is negatively impacting our country at all levels,” said Congresswoman Wilson. “Without reinstatement of FAA funding, this tower will again face the threat of closure, which would have dangerous consequences for our community and the broader aviation net-work.”

     Congresswoman Wilson sub-mitted an official letter, also signed by Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Congressman Alcee Hastings, calling on FAA Administrator Michael Huerta to grant a special exemption for the airport, given its importance to the regional economy and air traffic safety.

     “This madness has to stop. My residents are fearful. This area built up around Perry Airport and they’re worried,” said Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis.

     “Since when is health and safety something we cut? We have a large population surrounding the airport. I urge Congress to remember that they were elected to serve people, and by serving people that means you protect the economy, jobs, protect health and protect people’s safety,” said Miramar Mayor Lori Mosely.

     The North Perry Air Traffic Control Tower is the ninth busiest contract tower in the nation. The airport features four flight schools, helicopter training and two banner towing companies. During the past six years the airport has experienced an average of 154,857 annual operations, and that number is projected to escalate in 2013 to 160,000 operations. The North Perry Airport is also the designated general aviation reliever airport for Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and has four intersecting runways, as well as 365 aircraft based at the airport.


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