June 24, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) was recognized Tuesday by the American Association of Airport Executives and the U.S. Contract Tower Association and received the 2015 Congressional Leadership Award for his work on behalf of contract air traffic control towers.
"Under the Budget Control Act spending caps, the Obama Administration attempted to use our nation's control towers as an unnecessary mechanism to make the public feel the pain of non-defense budget cuts," Inhofe said. "Thanks to bipartisan recognition in the Senate for the vital role our nation's control towers, my colleagues and I blocked the administration's efforts and have kept the skies open. Since then, FAA has not tried to cut spending on the backs of federal control towers, FAA's most cost-effective program. I appreciate the American Association of Airport Executives and the U.S. Contract Tower Association for the 2015 Congressional Leadership Award. I will continue to work to ensure our contract towers are fully supported, as these towers are a cost-effective means to keep our skies safe and to keep commercial aviation, job creators, and farmers in business."
“We are pleased to present this recognition to Sen. Inhofe for all of his tireless efforts over the past several years and his leadership in the Senate to keep the focus on contract air traffic control towers and their importance for the National Aviation System,” said Walter Strong, A.A.E., Chair of the U.S. Contract Tower Association Policy Board and Administrator of the University of Oklahoma’s Max Westheimer Airport.
The federal Contract Tower Program serves a vital role in connecting smaller airports and rural communities with the National Aviation System and saves significant taxpayer dollars. FAA contract towers handle about 28 percent of U.S. air traffic control operations, but account for only 14 percent of the funding. More than 250 airports in 46 states participate in the program, including six contract towers in Oklahoma: Ardmore Municipal, Enid Woodring Municipal, Lawton-Ft. Sill Regional, University of Oklahoma Max Westheimer Airport, Stillwater and Wiley Post.