FAA meets with modest local group
Two Federal Aviation Administration regional representatives met with a small crowd of about 10 people Thursday night at the Lake Tahoe Airport to hear FAA plans to cut air traffic control funds.
Mike Fitzgerald, air traffic manager in Sacramento, and Diane Mangels, of the Western-Pacific Region air traffic division, said the FAA will discontinue the airport’s funding level as of April 1.
Funding had been scheduled to end Sunday, but the government gave the airport a month to try to come up with local funds to continue the control services at the airport.
Come April, the tower staff will drop to one weather observer who will also perform air traffic control eight hours a day. This is down from the current 12 hours.
Sometime between June and September, the weather observer will be replaced with a 24-hour automated weather observation system, unless the city and possibly other local funding entities can secure airport funds.
Airport manager Janis Brand said that if the city council votes to partially fund the tower at its March 3 meeting, the FAA will still pay for weather observation.
“What we become is non-federal,” Brand said. “Not much will change except the amount of hours – not 12, but eight.”
“I’m not done yet,” said council member
Tom Davis who has fought for the airport in previous months. “We still have some options on the political front.”
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Thunderstorms made their way through the Lake Tahoe basin this weekend and more rain and cooler temperatures are on tap this week.