Push for support not all for nothing | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Push for support not all for nothing

Michael Schneider

Council member Tom Davis, who went to Washington D.C. last month to lobby for continued federal airport control tower funding, said the trip was worth it.

He said the FAA has already bent a little, allowing funding to continue for another month and agreeing to fund weather observation systems.

Additionally, he said FAA representatives told him they will revisit the possibility of resuming funding should a push to return commercial service to the airport be successful.

“They said, ‘Get the numbers up and we’ll take a look at it again,'” Davis said of his conversation with the FAA.

Davis said the effort would not have been possible without the help of the bipartisan congressional delegation which fought for the airport.

“I want to thank the senators and congress men and woman and their staffs,” Davis said. “They worked very hard on this.”

Davis also wished to extend thanks to FAA Administrator Jane Garvey and Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater for their help.

The following were taken from various letters written since the Federal Aviation Administration decided last fall to stop funding the Lake Tahoe Airport’s air traffic control tower staffing.

On safety:

“The high elevation and dangerously changeable weather conditions at Lake Tahoe make the continued operation of an air traffic control tower an absolutely essential safety measure.” – Sen. Richard Bryan, D-Nev., in a Feb. 3 phone conversation with FAA Administrator Jane Garvey.

“Along with Vice President Gore, I flew into the Lake Tahoe airport on July 25, and I was struck by the difficult terrain and conditions. It seems ludicrous that the FAA would consider closing its air traffic control tower there.” – Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., in a Sept. 3, 1997 letter to Rodney Slater, Secretary of Transportation.

In the same Feinstein letter: “I firmly believe that budget cuts at the FAA should not come at the expense of safety.”

On the tower’s effect regarding commercial service:

“South Lake Tahoe redevelopment plans include establishment of a 1,500 person capacity California/Nevada Convention Center within the next three-to-four years. This will need scheduled airline service to be successful.” – El Dorado County Commissioners Jan. 9 letter to Sen. Feinstein.

“Continued air traffic control service at Tahoe is critical to helping augment the region’s tourism economy.” -Rep. John Doolittle, R-Rocklin, Calif. in a Feb. 4 letter to Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater.

“While the continued operation of the Lake Tahoe Airport tower can be justified based solely on general aviation’s need for safe access to the airport, continued operation of the tower is also essential to the community’s efforts to resume scheduled air service to the airport.” -from Sen. Bryan’s Feb. 3 phone conversation with Administrator Garvey.

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