The future of funding for the control tower at the Ardmore Municipal Airport remains up in the air. But there is a joint effort underway in Washington, D.C. to secure funding through Sept. 30, 2014.
Both the House of Representatives and Senate subcommittees and full committees for appropriations have approved funding for the operation of 251 contract towers across the nation. The towers were put on notice during the spring for closure because of sequestration, but received a stay with the inclusion of funding from other accounts. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development approved a spending bill for the Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Transportation. The proposed includes $140 million in dedicated funding for the Contract Tower Program, including $10.35 million for the Contract Tower Cost-Share Program, which the Ardmore airport takes part in.
The funding is not secure, as it will need to work through the remainder of the House and Senate, but the picture is much brighter than it was earlier this year. And it has Oklahoma Aeronautic Commission Director Victor Bird encouraged.
"I think it is significant because you have two actions in each chamber," Bird said. "It was approved in subcommittee and full committee. Add it up, and that is four steps in the right direction. If you can achieve that in Washington, you are doing pretty good."
Bird said the funding is not just about contract towers, and he expects the House and Senate to go into conference to iron out the bill, should it pass through both. He is also hopeful funding will be approved by the end of the fiscal year.
"We are assured through funding the towers will stay open through this fiscal year," Bird said. "Any continuing resolution will not put the contract towers on the back burner. My hope is they get this done early so they can get the funding done. If they got it miraculously done before the end of the fiscal year, that would be wonderful."