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Monday, July 25, 2011 - 8:52am

Georgia Airport Workers Stay Home

336 Federal Aviation Administration employees from the Atlanta-area have been forced to stay home following an imposed furlough.

These employees include airport planners, engineers, and specialists from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Air flight controllers are still on the job, so air safety has not been affected. However, major airport projects have been put on hold.

One of these projects is the Fifth Runway at Hartsfield-Jackson. $17 million for the ongoing project cannot be accepted until the furlough is lifted.

Another series of projects that have been affected are located at small airports around the state. An $11.6 million grant had been approved by the state for improvements at smaller airports, but this grant cannot be accepted until new legislation is passed and the employees can go back to work.

Temporary funding bills have been in place for FAA workers’ salary payments since 2007. The twentieth of these funding bills expired at midnight on Friday.

Congress must pass a new FAA funding bill, and the President must sign it, before these 336 employees can return to work. In the meantime, they will not be compensated.

The furlough period is, for now, indefinite. This funding crisis is not related to the current debt ceiling arguments in Congress.

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