Closing of local airport tower politically motivated
TO THE EDITORS:
I find it inconceivable that the federal government is choosing to shut down the Lancaster Airport control tower. With 90,000 takeoffs and landings a year, Lancaster has the fourth-busiest airport in the state. Those 90,000 takeoffs and landings are anything but evenly distributed, as nice spring and summer afternoons bring out dozens of pilots who are training and keeping their licenses current.
At those times, the Lancaster Airport more closely resembles a busy beehive than an airport. We have active flight training taking place on a regular basis accounting for many of the total number of takeoffs. I've found our controllers to be among the most competent and friendly I've encountered anywhere. I've heard them patiently explain to pilots that they were lined up to land on the wrong runway. I've watched them think and manage a lot of traffic at one time, providing a good margin of separation and safety for all of us in the airport environment. I've heard them direct errant pilots to the airport. In short, I've seen first hand just what a good job they are doing daily keeping us safe in the air and on the ground.
Now, if the relatively small amount of money saved by a wasteful federal government closing our tower was going to make a significant difference in our deficit/debt situation, I'd support it.
However, I'd encourage everyone reading this to go to the administration's own GAO report. In it, the GAO identifies hundreds of billions that could be saved if the federal government would use the sequester as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to remake the federal bureaucracy.
Instead of using this opportunity, this administration is on record as wanting to make the budget cuts as painful as possible to win a public opinion battle against the Republican Party. There is no mention of forcing government agencies to spare some expense on travel and conferences and excessive pay and staffing. They are also not forcing agencies to prioritize and cut spending accordingly.
The $85 billion required by the sequester is a mere 2.3 percent of total federal spending. I would challenge anyone who believes our president's exaggerated claims of disaster due to the sequester to read his own GAO's report and try to justify closing the fourth-busiest control tower in Pennsylvania.
The only explanation that makes any sense at all is that Lancaster County is solidly Republican and, despite his claims that he would be a "post-partisan" president, he has turned out to be anything but.