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Gov. Scott: FAA furloughs will hurt Florida

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

Governor Rick Scott traveled to Tampa Monday to complain about the furlough of air traffic controllers ordered to achieve spending cuts required by Congress.
    
Scott sent a letter to President Obama on Sunday, when the furloughs went into effect, asking him to take steps to stop them. 

Speaking in Tampa on Monday, Scott said, "This doesn't make any sense, why we would be doing this. It's going to impact delays at all of our airports in the state. It's going to impact people's interest in coming to our state because of these delays, it's going to impact business in our state. It's absolutely the wrong thing to do."

According to the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida airports accommodate more than 142 million passengers annually. Scott said the furloughs would cause a direct economic output reduction of $19 million annually.
    
The governor said Florida communities will be disproportionately impacted because the state has four large hub airports, including those in Orlando, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and Miami.

For travelers like Dan and Brenda Gilbert, the cuts brought a delay in their vacation.

Dan Gilbert says, "They get to choose where they cut their budgets and they chose to cut their budgets where it would affect the traveling public, so no, I'm not particularly thrilled with that."

The FAA says there are 15,000 air traffic controllers in the United States. Now ten percent will be on furlough on any given day.

Pat McCormick spent 30 years as an air traffic controller. McCormick was the President of the air traffic controllers union in Tampa before he retired.

McCormick says the furloughs will increase risk for air travelers.

"Right off the top, I'm opposed to cookie cutter approach to managing risk here," said McCormick.  "Obviously no one has taken a real good look at what is at every facility, because facilities have different dynamics. They have different complexities, they have different staffing levels and they have a different amount of work load."

The FAA says due to the delays, all travelers should check on arrival and departing times before going to the airport.

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