WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is warning that automatic spending cuts scheduled to take effect March 1 will result in travel delays at major airports and require traffic-disrupting shutdowns of air traffic control towers at smaller facilities.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says the across the board reductions will require trimming $600 million this year form the Federal Aviation Administration. LaHood says that will mean furloughing air traffic controllers, which in turn will reduce the ability to guide planes in and out of airports.
He says travelers could experience 90 minute delays or more in major cities.
The transportation reductions are part of broader, cuts that will hit across government agencies that will begin to kick in at the end of next week.
LaHood’s appearance in the White House briefing room was part of a continuing campaign by Cabinet members and other administration officials aimed at buttressing President Barack Obama’s appeal to Congress to replace the cuts with tax increases and targeted reductions. Congressional Republicans oppose any additional tax increases.