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City leaders bound for Washington

Michael Schneider

Councilman Tom Davis confirmed that he and City Manager Kerry Miller have planned a trip to Washington, D.C., next week to lobby for continued federal funding for the Lake Tahoe Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration recently decided to stop funding the airport control tower’s private staff, after a cost-benefit analysis reportedly showed the airport didn’t provide enough benefit for the FAA’s costs.

Davis said he and Miller will leave Feb. 4 and return to South Lake Tahoe two days later.

While in Washington, the pair will lobby the Department of Transportation to override the FAA’s ruling.

Assistant Airport Manager Janis Brand said the only way the decision can be overturned is by congressional legislation or by the DOT.

“I hope they are successful,” Brand said. “When the Department of Transportation has all the facts and information I hope they will exempt us.”

Brand said the DOT could override the FAA on the matter if it was shown the airport needed staffing in the tower for safety and other operational factors. She said the airport scored so low on the FAA’s study that it didn’t qualify for consideration for exemption from the administration.

“The FAA must justify its funding,” Brand said. “But if the DOT says there is an exception to the rule, then they can fund it.”

Davis said he will call the Tahoe Daily Tribune while in Washington to update the lobbying efforts.

Should the efforts in Washington be unsuccessful, all four United States senators from California and Nevada as well as several United States representatives in the region are reportedly behind a reversal of the FAA’s decision.

As for Brand, she said she will be anxiously waiting with fingers, toes, arms, legs, and everything else she can cross, crossed.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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