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March 13. 2013 10:49PM

NH delegation shows support for Nashua airport tower

NASHUA - The four member of the New Hampshire congressional delegation have signed a letter asking Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to keep the Nashua Municipal Airport control tower open.

Airport Authority Board Chairman Donald Davidson said he was impressed and thankful to the delegation - Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte, and Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Annie Kuster - for coming together on the issue.

"It's not often when every member of New Hampshire delegation comes together to write a letter to the Secretary of Transportation," he said.

In the letter, the delegation says: "We write to register our opposition to the Federal Aviation Administration's plans to eliminate funding for the air traffic control services at Nashua Municipal Airport. (The airport) is among the most used general aviation facilities in New England."

The letter goes on to say, "Last year the FAA classified (the airport) as an asset of national importance due to the important role it plays in the safe and efficient functioning of the aviation system."

They also said closing the control tower would "undermine" a recently completed $24 million federally funded runway expansion and hurt the area economically.

Davidson said that with the support of New Hampshire's delegation and public opinion forming against the FAA, he is optimistic that the airport's control tower will remain open despite being designated by the federal government for closure next month due to sequestration cuts.

"I really have a feeling that this whole crazy idea of the FAA is going to go away. There is no question that other delegations across the country are also acting. This is not trivial. This would affect safety, and it would be hard for FAA to justify," Davidson said.

Davidson said he sent a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration Tuesday on behalf of the Airport Authority also asking that the tower remain open.

"I have a feeling this whole thing may turn around," Davidson said of national tower closures, "which would be good for Nashua and be good for whole country."

Even if the FAA were to go ahead with the closures, Davidson said Nashua's control tower still shouldn't be closed.

"I think our case is a little bit unique," Davidson said.

Davidson said the Airport Authority, which sent the letter to the FAA Tuesday, would probably not get a response for at least a week.


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