Officials want Boca Raton Airport tower to stay open

FAA to close Boca Raton Airport contract air control tower

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BOCA RATON, Fla. - South Florida Congressmen want to keep the federal contract air control tower at Boca Raton Airport from closing as a result of automatic spending cuts imposed by the federal government.

"The mindless sequester, which Congress really needs to get back to Washington and figure out," said U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel.

The Federal Aviation Administration announced Friday which federal contract air control towers it's closing beginning April 7. The FAA is closing 149 control towers, 14 towers of which are in Florida, including ones at North Perry General Aviation Airport in Hollywood and Boca Raton Airport. It's keeping the tower at Opa-locka Executive Airport open.

"While there are lots of considerations about what this will do to the economy, there's the safety of the people who live in our community, the people on these planes, there's a major hospital, there are three universities," said U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch.

"The idea that all of a sudden the tower does not play a part in the saving of peoples' lives is just a ridiculous position to take," said Boca Raton Mayor Susan Whelchel.

Officials at businesses like Home Depot are also concerned.

"I think the impact is just disastrous for the entire community," said Paul Loughrey, the director of aviation for Office Depot. "We have to keep the tower. It's very, very important."

It costs $650,000 a year to keep the tower open.

READ: Tower closure list | Towers remaining open |

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