ROMULUS (WWJ) – President Barack Obama says he expects that a partial FAA shutdown will be resolved by end of week.
That’s music to the ears of Metro Airport spokesman Mike Conway, who says that partisan bickering in Washington over the bill funding the Federal Aviation Administration has left airport officials scrambling to find a way to pay for a runway project.
Conway tells WWJ Newsradio 950 it’s not possible to stop the taxiway Zulu expansion, so they’ll have to find the $8 million to pay for it. And Conway says, the bickering has furloughed 4,000 workers.
“The only FAA employees that are working are essential, like air traffic control, but all the airport’s district offices, that are operated by the FAA, are all out,” said Conway.
“It’s inconceivable to me that Congress would leave without addressing this issue,” he said.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is urging Congress to return from its August vacation to resolve this partisan standoff. Without the bill, the government cannot collect its taxes on ticket sales.
WWJ spoke with Michigan Congressman Hansen Clark who said the FAA the issue can and should be resolved now.
“The FAA shutdown and the debt ceiling crisis are about the same issue — it’s about politics,” said Clark.
“This FAA shutdown has already cost Michigan jobs. We’ve lost $36 million in airport construction funding. So, that puts on hold over 1,000 jobs in Michigan,” he said.
The President was asked whether he would intervene to end the dispute. He said he has made calls to key leaders and urged them to do their work. He said the legislation needed to solve the crisis is not complicated and has been done many times before.
Clark says he’d be happy to return to Washington immediately to resolve the FAA budget issue.