Brooks discusses impact of sequester on Rochester airport

Posted at: 05/06/2013 11:09 AM
Updated at: 05/06/2013 5:35 PM
By: Amanda Ciavarri

Lawmakers recently reached a deal to avoid furloughs for air traffic controllers at airports across the country. But News10NBC learned that the costs may be passed along to passengers.

It's all because lawmakers decided to take the money being used for airport capital improvement projects and use it to cover what they would have saved on controller furloughs. But the airports are still required by the government to make those improvements. So those costs will be passed to the airlines and officials say ultimately that will mean higher ticket prices for you.

Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks says these are projects that do things like improve and maintain the safety of the runways, so taking away the funding is a safety concern. She said, right now, they have ten planned capital improvement projects for 2013. The total cost will be $15 million and that means more than 300 jobs. Typically, the FAA would cover 70% of the $15 million. Under this plan, that 70% will not be there and that's the cost that Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks says will be passed along to passengers.

Brooks says she plans on going to Washington Tuesday to explain to lawmakers the negative impact this will have and how this is a safety concern.

County Executive Maggie Brooks said, “Some of those are our runway safety projects.One of the things that comes to mind is at the end of our runways we have something that is called "EMAS”, that if there ever were an accident or a plan had to go beyond the runway it is a safety net for them. We would not be able to do that on one of our runway areas and that is a critical project and it has been on the books for a long time.”

Brooks says not only is she going to Washington Tuesday, but later this week, the airport director is meeting with the FAA to share concerns with them.