BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - If the United States Congress does not avert deep federal spending cuts, changes may take effect Friday. In western New York, the cuts may impact travel, Air Reserve Station construction and Army Corps projects.
According to Congressman Brian Higgins' office, possible consequences of sequester include closing the air traffic tower at the Niagara Falls airport and eliminating an overnight shift at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.
According to NFTA spokesperson Douglas Hartmayer the impact would be minimal to none at local airports. "That tower (Niagara Falls International Airport) is an FAA contract tower. It's contracted out to an organization that provides those services, and they had done that for many years," Hartmayer says
He says the operation of the tower is from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. daily. Hartmayer says it has had little or no effect on the evening hours because those flights would be guided by the Buffalo tower.
"If unfortunately this does come to fruition after Friday, based on the fact that we operate that now in the evening, that we really wouldn't see, we don't expect to see any negative impact going forward," according to Hartmayer.
Hartmayer also weighed in on the overnight shift at Buffalo Niagara International Airport, telling News 4, "We don't know how that would affect operations going forward. I'm sure that the local FAA staff would lobby FAA nationally to try and keep maybe a minimum amount of people in the tower."
He says while there's little commercial activity during that time, there are flights like FedEx, UPS and the U.S. Mail operating.
"I guess we have to wait and see as to how this thing actually shakes out going forward," according to Hartmayer.
According to Higgins' office, the sequester may impact the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, it's possible that the Air Force will be forced to delay construction of the $6.1 million flight simulator. It is also possible that the Army Corps will experience cuts, including 43 operation and maintenance projects like Buffalo Harbor and Black Rock Lock.
At the border, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says the sequester could cause four-hour delays at border crossings. Customs and Border Protection may possibly have to eliminate 2,750 officers and 5,000 Border Patrol Agents.
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