Report Suggests Local Airports Could Close - - ABC13

Report Suggests Local Airports Could Close

Scott Lilly Scott Lilly

Roanoke, VA - If the federal cuts take place as they're scheduled to January 2, do you know how it would affect you?

The author of a speculative report is defending his suggestion that more than 100 airports across the country could close down because of the Congressional impasse that is keeping those 9% across the board cuts a real possibility.

That includes Roanoke Regional Airport.

Scott Lilly, a Democratic Congressional worker for 31 years with a long history working with budgets, issued the report because he felt not enough was being done to educate people on what could be just around the corner.

He believes the avenue the agency would have to take would likely see those small airports lose their air traffic controllers.

He says that would ultimately shut them down until the impasse can be settled.

"If you look at the equities the FAA has to balance. The way that they disrupt the fewest amount of lives and have the least impact on the economy would be to close the smaller airports," said Lily who wrote the analysis for the Center for American Progress.

Get more information about the report here.

A spokesperson for Roanoke Regional Airport says the report is "unrealistic."

"That is something we would address if and when that happens. The FAA has a lot of ways to look at cuts that may or may not affect air traffic control. It's too soon to speculate," said Sherry Wallace.

Lilly's scenario doesn't address how the impasse would affect Lynchburg or Charlottesville because both airports have private air traffic controllers, but even that program is part of the federal budget and 9% is 9%.

"The FAA isn't weighing in on this as yet so we don't know exactly what the impact is going to be," said Mark Courtney with Lynchburg Regional Airport.

That's the problem Lilly has as well, which makes him feel that information isn't getting out there, and with just under two post-election months to work on the problem, he says it's time for people to start understanding the real possibilities.

"I spent my life working on the federal budget and I think it's important that people have an understanding of what they face," said Lilly.

Lilly says the bottom line is that he hopes he is wrong but says this is a very plausible scenario that should open the eyes of a country, and Congress.

He believes they're not looking at the real consequences of Congressional inaction to avert the cuts.

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