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FAA to close 149 control towers

Beginning April 7, 149 federal contract towers will close over four weeks as part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s sequestration plan, the FAA announced.

The FAA will keep 24 federal contract towers open that had been previously proposed for closure because “doing so would have a negative impact on the national interest,” the FAA said.

Sixteen additional federal contract towers under the "cost share" program will stay open because congressional statute sets aside funds every fiscal year for these towers.

Though these cost-share program funds are subject to sequestration, the required 5 percent cut will not result in tower closures.

In early March, the FAA proposed to close 189 air traffic control towers as part of its plan to meet the $637 million in required cuts.

"We heard from communities across the country about the importance of their towers and these were very tough decisions," said transportation secretary Ray LaHood. "Unfortunately, we are faced with a series of difficult choices that we have to make to reach the required cuts under sequestration."

"We will work with the airports and the operators to ensure the procedures are in place to maintain the high level of safety at non-towered airports," FAA administrator Michael Huerta said.