The Federal Aviation Administration says it will close the air traffic control tower at the Central Illinois Regional Airport as part of cuts related to the federal sequester. Also on the closure list of 149 airport towers nationwide are ones in Decatur, Alton, Carbondale, and Waukegan. The list is smaller than the 238 originally targeted as the FAA offered some exemptions to airports that receive federal money such as Marion, Illinois....and in cases where closures would create a threat to national security; have a significant negative economic impact extending beyond the local community; have a negative impact on transportation, communication, or financial networks; or hurt an airport that is a critical reliever for a large hub airport. Dates for closure are not yet set. The Aircraft owners and pilots association is urging pilots to refresh their knowledge of operations at non towered airports...such as right of way rules, collision avoidance procedures, and non standard flight operations. The Bloomington closure will cost the area several jobs. CIRA leaders say they are preparing a statement. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says the FAA "heard from communities across the country about the importance of their towers and these were very tough decisions." LaHood says "Unfortunately the agency is faced with a series of difficult choices that we have to make to reach the required cuts."
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