By Russell Hixson
STILLWATER, Okla. — The city of Stillwater won't have to spend a dime to fund Stillwater Regional Airport during the 2013 fiscal year.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announced the Department of Transportation has determined the recently enacted Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013 will allow the Federal Aviation Administration to transfer sufficient funds to end employee furloughs and keep 149 contract towers originally slated for closure in June open for the remainder of the 2013 fiscal year.
The FAA will also put $10 million toward reducing cuts and delays in core NextGen programs and will allocate approximately $11 million to partially restore the support of infrastructure in the national airspace system, LaHood said in an email statement to affected airports.
The Stillwater city council had approved to spend more than $100,000 to keep the tower open through September after aiport officials cited major safety concerns associated with operating without it.
Airport Manager Gary Johnson said he is pleased with the decision and will now focus on working to get the tower funding back on the 2014 federal budget that starts at the end of September.
"It took an army of people nationwide to work through this process and get the funding back," he said.