CIRA is on a list of 200 airports being considered for a tower shut down if Congress doesn't stop automatic budget cuts, known as sequestration, before March 1. (Photo by Stephanie Pawlowski/WJBC)
By Beth Whisman
WASHINGTON - The Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington is on a long list of "at risk" airports that could be in trouble as automatic spending cuts take effect March 1.
The Obama administration is warning the cuts will result in travel delays at major airports and require traffic-disrupting shutdowns of air traffic control towers at smaller facilities. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Friday the across the board reductions will require trimming $600 million this year form the Federal Aviation Administration.
LaHood said that will require furloughing air traffic controllers, which in turn will reduce the ability to guide planes in and out of airports. He said travelers could experience 90 minute delays or more in major cities.
The FAA released a list of 200 airports Friday that are at-risk. Half of them will see complete tower shutdowns by April 1. That list included airports in Bloomington, Springfield and Decatur among others in Illinois. Peoria's airport was not on the list.
President Barack Obama has called on Congress to replace the cuts with tax increases and targeted reductions. Congressional Republicans oppose raising more tax revenue.
Attempts to contact officials with CIRA were not successful Friday evening.
Beth Whisman can be reached at email@example.com.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.