Save the towers

In just a few short weeks the air traffic control towers at Capital City Airport and Lancaster Airport will close. The closure is part of Federal budget cuts known as Sequestration.

Volunteers and supporters with Organizing for America rallied outside of the soon-to-be-closed Lancaster County Airport Tower to ask Congress to move forward finding a responsible and balanced approach to avoid the harsh cuts of the sequester.

“This airport was conceived in our community as an economic development driver, and certainly crippling it even more by making it less attractive for commercial flights is just not the way to do it,” said Lancaster City Council Member Jose Urdaneta. “This is local governments, local municipalities, suffering the consequences of Washington not doing the right thing.  I do not think that sequestration is affecting the right people, it is going to burden more on the middle class and the poor.”

David Walbor is one of many rallying to save the Lancaster tower. His uncle was an air traffic controller there for over 20 years. “I know from him personally the Lancaster Airport is one of the busiest airports on the East Coast because of the private pilots that land and take off from this facility. Taking away the tower reduces considerably the safety for all of those pilots and also for the general populace here in Lancaster county. The air traffic controller is an essential part at any airport.”

Although the rally was held at the Lancaster Airport, it was about more than just the tower. Organizers say cuts will be widespread, and hurt the middle class.

“People through this are going to be losing their jobs once again. You’re going to have unemployment, people are going to be without health insurance. That’s going to be more people on unemployment more people perhaps on welfare or medical assistance,” said Jim Cataldi, a Registered Nurse. “They’re going to be coming to me and to my place of employment and they’re going to be in worse condition, and end up staying longer.  We need to get the message out.  Jobs are going to be lost and that’s not going to help this country.”

We’re going to see middle class families being hurt with loss of tuition assistance, with loss of teacher jobs, even our preparedness by the loss of civil jobs through our military. So many different things that are not a responsible way to balance a budget,” said Urdaneta. “No one is denying the fact that we need to be more responsible. No one is denying the fact that spending needs to be more level-headed in Washington, but certainly sequestration is not the way.”

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