County Board supervisors protesting likely closure of airport towers

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) — Milwaukee County Board supervisors protested the likely night closing of the airport tower at Mitchell International Airport and the complete closing of the tower at Timmerman Airport, saying that the closings would create safety and noise issues.

The closings are likely to take place on April 7th, as a result of Congress’ failure to avoid across-the-board “sequestration” budget cuts.

In a letter from the Transportation, Public Works and Transit Committee to the delegation, the supervisors said: “We are aware that the Federal funding cuts may affect the night shift at General Mitchell International Airport (GMIA) control tower and fully cut staff at the Timmerman Airport control tower.  Such proposal considered within the context of the population density and shopping centers around these airports in Milwaukee County puts our citizens at an unacceptable risk.”

The Committee voted unanimously on March 19th to protest the closings and urge Congress to reconsider them.

“It is irresponsible for the politicians in Washington to really pass the buck down to every level of government when they themselves are not doing the job,” Supervisor Patricia Jursik, a member of the committee said.

Committee Chairman Michael Mayo urged residents to contact their representatives in Congress to protest the closings.

“It is unbelievable that that the inability of Washington to govern would create safety and noise conditions in some of the densest population areas in Wisconsin. I think Congress needs to act responsibly to restore these cuts and see to it that our resident’s safety and health are the first priority,” Mayo said.

The letter cited the fact that Timmerman Airport is one of the busiest General Aviation airports in southeastern Wisconsin, and it is a reliever airport for Mitchell International. The letter said that Timmerman also has significant use as a training facility for new pilots. It added that Mitchell Airport and Timmerman have nine runways, with a total of ten different flight paths over dense neighborhoods.

“We are very concerned that planes without the benefit of control towers in dense neighborhoods cause safety hazards and noise problems,” the letter said.

In addition to Mayo and Jursik, the letter was signed by Supervisors John Weishan, Mark Borkowski, Jason Haas and David Bowen.

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