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Atlantic City Faces Potenially Big Setback [AUDIO]

Efforts continue to “reinvent” Atlantic City and help draw more visitors to the area, but a new report finds those efforts may be hampered – because Atlantic City International Airport could soon be forced to scale back operations.

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Scott Lilly, a Senior Fellow with the Center for American Progress says, “The FAA, along with every other Agency in the federal government, is facing a 9 percent budget cut in their budget on January 2nd. That means that they’re probably going to have to eliminate 2 thousand of their 15 thousand controllers – the logical choice is to go to the smaller airports.”

He says airplanes take off and land at airports that don’t have air traffic control, “but when you’re talking about larger, commercial aircraft, and you’re talking about a variety of weather conditions, I think there’s going to be real pressure on airlines to not schedule flights there…There’s a real strong disincentive, if you take off you’re not sure you’re going to be able to land.”

Lilly adds, “It’s a very, very stupid move to cut air traffic controllers, but it’s one that – this law that was passed last summer – leaves the FAA with very little latitude to solve problems like this. I think you’ve got these kinds of issues throughout the government, and people don’t understand that this is coming at them.”

He points out, “Unless Congress acts to undo it, the Agencies have no choice to go forward with these kinds of reduction, and this is a devastating problem because I wouldn’t want to come into Atlantic City on a 737 – in a thunderstorm and nobody in the traffic tower…I don’t think I’d book passage on an airline that was going to Atlantic City – I’d take the bus.”

Lilly adds, “It’s not too late for Congress to avoid the economic calamity of sequestration. But to do so, lawmakers must join together on a long-term solution that includes a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases, solutions that have been proposed by President Obama and multiple bipartisan commissions.”

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