Bennet: Political Games Standing in Way of Needed Colorado Airport Improvements

Hold-Up on FAA Bill Stalls Improvement Project at Loveland-Fort Collins Airport

Washington, DC – As airport officials in Colorado are faced with possible cancellations of important capital improvement projects, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today urged Congress to stop stalling and approve Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorization that would allow these projects to get off the ground and ensure passenger safety. The current funding authorization is set to expire at midnight tonight.

Congress’ failure to either approve a new FAA reauthorization bill or a long-term extension of the current bill has forced airport officials in Colorado to consider cancelling already-planned, much-needed improvement projects. At the Loveland-Fort Collins airport, officials have said they may have to shelve a $7 million  runway rebuilding project because of Congress’ failure to act.

“Washington’s political games are preventing critical airport improvement projects from getting off the ground – projects that support and create good-paying jobs,” said Bennet. “While folks in Washington obstruct, airport officials are being forced to shelve shovel-ready projects that could boost our economy and support jobs. Congress needs to stop playing politics and get this done.”

It is estimated that about 4,000 FAA workers will start being furloughed Saturday if Congress allows the authorization to lapse. At Loveland-Fort Collins, officials have said that failure to move forward on the runway rebuilding project could potentially lead to closures this winter and cost around 150 jobs.

Earlier this year, Bennet supported Senate passage of the FAA Reauthorization Bill, which has not been substantively examined or rewritten since 2007. The bill will modernize our nation’s air transportation system and reduce frustrating, costly delays by more than 20 percent—saving consumers time and potentially billions of dollars.

In 2007, the total cost of all U.S. air transportation delays was $32.9 billion, including a $16.7 billion cost to passengers, according to the National Center of Excellence for Aviation Operations Research (NEXTOR).