SHAHEEN PUSHES FOR LONG-TERM FAA AUTHORIZATION

August 12, 2011

(Nashua, NH) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) visited the Nashua Municipal Airport today to urge Congress to reach an agreement on a long-term authorization for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA has been relying on short-term budget extensions since 2007, hampering its ability to invest in long-term projects and causing uncertainty for workers.

In Nashua, the recent FAA shutdown caused 42 employees to be furloughed without pay and several projects to be put on hold, including asbestos abatement, building upgrades, and mechanical system work. The current short-term extension expires September 16.

“At a time when job creation must be our top priority, it is imperative that we stop playing politics and work together to find long-term solutions,” Shaheen said. “Without a long-term authorization, the FAA can’t plan effectively for major renovation projects or a badly needed overhaul of our air-traffic control system. It’s time to get past the ideological standoffs and work on real bipartisan solutions that can help our economy grow.”

“It’s very difficult as an FAA employee when you’re trying to support a family and don’t know what’s going to happen with your job from one month to the next,” said Steve Finnerty, an FAA Civil Engineer who was furloughed during the recent shutdown.  “The only real way to ensure that we, as workers, can do our jobs most effectively and ensure the agency is operating at its best is to secure a long-term authorization.”

“While we are very relieved to have an extension passed and our members back to work, the reality is we could be facing a similar shutdown again on September 17,” said Elisa Muise,  New England Regional Chair of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.  “It is important to the people of New Hampshire and to the rest of the country that Congress passes an FAA reauthorization bill before the end of this extension and I’d like to thank Senator Shaheen for her support.”

Shaheen emphasized that a long-term agreement is necessary for critical projects to move forward, including a $16 million effort to rebuild a runway at the Nashua airport that will be delayed until the FAA begins operating under a long-term resolution.

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