Funding Issues Surrounding Lynchburg Airport Control Tower
Campbell Co., VA - The tower at Lynchburg Regional Airport will stay open at least through June. City Council voted Tuesday night to give the airport flexibility in using certain funds to keep the tower open.
Airport Director Mark Courtney is confident Lynchburg's tower will stay open well beyond these next two months. But funding could be harder to come by in the future.
Courtney held a meeting Wednesday to brief the Virginia Aviation Board on the plan to keep the tower open.
Airports get two types of funding: Entitlement, given to airports every year by the state. And discretionary, which is allocated by the board based on requests.
The plan is to use entitlement funds for the tower. But the board considers that "misspending" the funds, not that it's illegal or even improper.
Courtney is asking for $80,000 to keep the tower open on a month-to-month basis for up to a year. $64,000 of which will come from state entitlement funds.
As a result, for the next three years, if the Lynchburg airport asks for discretionary money, the board will deduct those "misspent" funds from the pot.
"The vote ended up today saying we would not waiver that penalty," said Virginia Aviation Chairman John Mazza.
Virginia Aviation Chairman John Mazza says they have to be smart about how they spend taxpayer dollars, and in this situation, the money is not being used for its intended purpose.
"We have to protect all the airports," said Mazza.
"I certainly am somewhat disappointed that they didn't vote to approve our waiver for the penalty provisions," said Courtney.
The Lynchburg tower is one of nearly 150 set to close due to sequestration cuts to the FAA.
"Gave these airports very little time to make a decision and I thought that was very unfair on the FAA's part," said Mazza.