Poes FAA Bill Puts a Hold on Air Traffic Controller Consolidations

Legislation calls for evaluation of TRACON changes at Southeast TX Regional Airport

WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) announced today he filed the FAA Facility Consolidation Moratorium Act to place a temporary moratorium on consolidations of all Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) facilities including changes at the Southeast Texas Regional Airport.

The FAA must keep Members of Congress, the public, airport operators, aviation operators, and other community stakeholders informed of potential, planned, or pending efforts that could affect the safety and efficiency of the airspace when considering these air traffic control facility consolidations, Poe said. The moratorium allows the FAA the opportunity to engage Congress and other stakeholders further on the specific operational need for proposed consolidations before any more are done.

During the past 20 years, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has completed the consolidation of eight TRACON facilities in New York, Southern California, Chicago, Denver, Dallas-Fort Worth, Northern California, Atlanta, and the Baltimore/Washington area. In regards to the Southeast Regional Airports TRACON, the FAA has announced that efforts are underway to address constraints being encountered with existing airspace configurations and demand for the entire Gulf Coast region. The new airspace configuration for the Houston TRACON will extend their boundaries encompassing the Beaumont area and require a consolidation of TRACON facilities.

Safety must be the number one concern when it comes to changes made to any TRACON facility not money, said Poe. Many members of the Jefferson County community have concerns over the proposed consolidation of the Southeast Regional Airports TRACON operations to Houston. The FAA has not effectively sought the input from those that these consolidations would affect and have directed these consolidations to continue without good transparency and I feel that a temporary moratorium on consolidations right now is necessary.

HR 4223, The FAA Facility Consolidation Moratorium Act has 14 bipartisan cosponsors; Congresswoman Mary Bono and Congressman Bob Filner of California are original cosponsors.

Efforts by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison to halt the consolidation of the Southeast Regional Airports TRACON were also included in the Senates version of the FAA Reauthorization Bill.

Senator Hutchison is very good friend to Southeast Texas and because of her efforts she was able to tack on an amendment to prevent the transfer of the TRACON in Beaumont, said Poe. I will continue to work with Senator Hutchison on this issue and do my part in the House.

Congressman Poe serves on the Aviation Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.