Sequestration's Effect on Central VA
Lynchburg, VA - The sequestration and massive cuts to federal spending will start on Friday, if Congress and the President can't work out a deal. And those cuts could hit many right here in Central Virginia.
The chopping block is wide-reaching, slashing some services for the elderly, even changing how Lynchburg Regional Airport operates.
The White House released the list of potential cuts, and on page four they name airports where the FAA would have to cut $600 million. Lynchburg Regional is not going to close, but its control tower might.
Mark Courtney runs the airport, and he certainly has his worries. Unfortunately, his control tower made the dreaded sequestration list to get cut. Courtney says it's vital, but if they have to make do without it, they will.
"There's lots of general aviation airports out there that don't have an air traffic control tower, and have a lot of operations," said Courtney.
Not every organization is as optimistic.
"Those programs will be hit hard," said Deborah Silverman.
Deborah Silverman runs the Central Virginia Area Agency on Aging, or CVAAA. The elderly in her care visit weekly to do arts and crafts, talk with friends, eat, even learn a little something.
Monday, we visited CVAAA's Nutrition, Education and Meals Site. There are ten programs like this in Region 2000, and federal cuts could hurt all of them.
82-year-old Madeline Lee spends three days a week, three hours a day here and would hate to lose it.
"These people mean a lot to you," we asked Lee? "These people mean a lot to me coming down here, and I love coming down here," Lee said to ABC 13.
Lee could lose her friends at CVAAA. Sequestration could slash 5.1% of this organization's $1.2 million budget. That's real people and real losses Washington needs to see.
"I hear them talking and I say, 'What happened to what's going to happen to senior meals? What's going to happen to people who need dialysis transportation and can't get there?' That's not being discussed," said Silverman.
Sequestration would hurt many programs at CVAAA, including Meals on Wheels. As for at the airport, there is a procedure when there's no control tower anymore. The pilots communicate directly with each other instead.