The Waukesha County Airport/Crites Field traffic control tower is being shut down, along with 148 other towers across the country due to federal budget cuts.
The Federal Aviation Administration announced the closures on Friday. Other Wisconsin airport towers that are being shut down include La Crosse, Janesville, Oshkosh, Milwaukee (Timmerman), Kenosha, Eau Claire and Mosinee.
Waukesha is the third busiest airport in Wisconsin. Airport General Manager Kurt Stanich told Waukesha Now the airport has 60,000 takeoffs and landings a year, adding the cuts are “unnecessary.”
Waukesha County Supervisor Michael Crowley believes that closing of the "tower could jeopardize aviation safety and efficiency for the 200 aircraft based at Waukesha County Airport, which conduct 55,000 takeoffs and landings each year."
The FAA told Waukesha County Airport they are choosing to close airport towers based on the degree to which the air traffic control tower affects the “national interest,” reported General Aviation News.
The FAA will continue to fund Wisconsin airports that have commercial airline traffic.
“The bottom line is Contract Towers are safer and save money," said Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, in a release. "The FAA must reevaluate its decision, and the White House must put an end to its political charade. On March 14, several of my colleagues and I sent a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta questioning these closures despite considerable wasteful spending at FAA. I intend to send a follow-up letter inquiring how much taxpayer money is being spent on the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program."