FAA Shuts Down Construction of New Bush Air Traffic Control Center

The Federal Aviation Administration has issued dozens of stop-work orders for major projects designed to build and modernize control towers, as well as other airport projects.  For Houston, that means a halt to work on the replacement for Bush Intercontinental Airport's aging air traffic control center.

Mario Diaz is director of aviation for the Houston Airport System.

"It controls flights emanating from Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston, San Antonio, Austin, in general all the airports of the state of Texas, and beyond, and controls flights between airports and flights flying over Texas airspace, and provides for both approach and departure of these aircraft in all weather conditions."

Diaz says the new air traffic control center was due to come online in early 2013.  He says that every day the FAA is shut down will push back the date of completion by at least one day.

"And possibly more given that the Federal Aviation Administration will probably have to demobilize, meaning that the contractor will be told to go home, and then they'll have to remobilize when they're given the order to resume work."

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called on Congress to move forward on a bill to extend the FAA's operating authority, which expired at midnight on Friday.  The House and Senate are at a stalemate over air service subsidies for rural communities and a Republican proposal that would make it more difficult for airline workers to unionize.

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