According to Forbes: After a week of mounting pressure from airline lobbying groups and air travelers outraged at flight delays caused by across-the-board Government spending cuts, Congress fixed the problem by preparing legislation (which the President said he would sign) to allow the transfer of revenue from the FAA’s Airport and Airway Trust Fund to cover air traffic controller salaries and prevent the closure of control towers. Contrary to what many commenters have said, this action was not a rescue of the aviation elite at the expense of social welfare programs. And no money will be diverted from DOT’s budget for other programs, such as highway improvement or bridge safety. The Airport and Airway Trust Fund is never used for these other programs and it’s misleading for commenters to imply that there will be a negative impact on these other programs by this transfer of funds.
I applaud this decision, and I believe it is a good stop-gap to allow control towers to remain open and preserve the safety and efficiency of aircraft traffic. Assuming this legislation passes, it is good that an accident did not have to occur before something positive was done about the situation. However, this fund was not set up for this purpose, and it seems to me that it would be wrong to continue to redirect funds in this way for the long term. This should give the FAA time to re-evaluate and to propose cuts to meet their new budgetary requirements without compromising safety, the way their reckless and irresponsible tower closing proposal did.