Larsen to FAA: Closing Paine Field tower could hurt national economy

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen is lobbying the Federal Aviation Administration to keep the air traffic control tower at Everett’s Paine Field open despite federal budget cuts.

The control tower at Paine Field is on the FAA’s list of potential closures under budget sequestration. However, Larsen notes in his letter that the facility isn’t in the first round of closures.

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta told the House Aviation Subcommittee his agency is working to identify locations where “national interest” would be negatively affected. Larsen, D-Wash., is the ranking member on the subcommittee.

Both the Boeing Co. and Aviation Technical Services operate out of Paine Field and “need a fully operating air traffic control tower,” Larsen wrote in a letter sent Wednesday to Huerta.

“Closure of the air traffic control tower at Paine Field would significantly limit Paine Field’s ability to support the cornerstone of the Pacific Northwest aviation economy and would hurt the national economy by impacting the operations of the country’s largest exporter,” he wrote.

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