Budget cuts could force La Crosse to become 'uncontrolled airport'

2013-02-26T00:00:00Z 2013-03-18T21:20:40Z Budget cuts could force La Crosse to become 'uncontrolled airport'By Chris Hubbuch | chubbuch@lacrossetribune.com La Crosse Tribune

The air traffic control tower at the La Crosse Municipal Airport is among eight in Wisconsin listed for possible closure if sequestration takes effect.

But that won’t stop the more than 62 planes that take off and land each day, said airport manager Clint Torp.

Instead, La Crosse would become what’s known in the industry as an “uncontrolled airport,” where planes would be guided by air traffic controllers in Minneapolis until they were close, at which point pilots would communicate directly with one another.

La Crosse currently has four contracted air traffic controllers who staff the tower between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. At night, it is uncontrolled.

“Towers serve as an additional safety function,” Torp said. “We’d hate to see it closedown, but the airport would continue functioning.”

Torp said while the closure would not directly affect flights, he expects there could be system-wide delays in a system with fewer controllers.

The Federal Aviation Administration announced Friday that in the event Congress does not head off sequestration cuts by the Friday deadline, the agency is prepared to furlough all of its nearly 47,000 employees one day per pay period, eliminate overnight shifts at more than 60 air traffic control towers and to close more than 100 towers at smaller airports.

The list of towers under consideration for closure includes those in Eau Claire, Kenosha, Janesville, Oshkosh, Waukesha, and Mosinee as well as Timmerman Field in Milwaukee.

It’s not unprecedented for uncontrolled airports to serve commercial carriers, Torp said, but it would be unusual. He previously worked in Devil’s Lake, N.D., which was uncontrolled but had only two flights a day.

With just under 100,000 passengers leaving and arriving last year, La Crosse ranks sixth among Wisconsin’s eight primary airports, according to FAA data on passenger volume.

It is served by seven commercial flights daily (nine in the summer) and last year saw a total of 22,667 takeoffs and landings.

Of the state’s 12 controlled airports, only the Central Wisconsin Airport in Mosinee had fewer take offs and landings than La Crosse, according to FAA data.

Copyright 2015 La Crosse Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(35) Comments

  1. Tim Russell
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    Tim Russell - February 28, 2013 6:53 am
    The Republicans control the HOR & with their new found filibuster rule (where they don't actually have to debate) control the Senate with a minority. So yes this is the Republican's fault moron.
    But if you think it is such a good thing why are you so worried that the repubs might get blamed?
  2. Tim Russell
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    Tim Russell - February 28, 2013 6:49 am
    I fotgot abut the churches being there for everybody. Putz!
  3. Anonangel
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    Anonangel - February 26, 2013 11:19 pm
    So will the next president magically fix everything, no. Just like Obama cant fix the mess that was dumped on him. Everyone can blame who they want, but in the end it really wont matter. Come election time a new president will be elected, and the blame game will start all over. And our politicians , all of them, will collect their retirements and go on about life. And one day they will sit and talk over drinks and laugh at all of us. They are not divided as most would believe. Birds of a feather do flock together. And society is about to get played, old school style.
  4. pheasant
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    pheasant - February 26, 2013 8:29 pm
    Chip- You need to read 'Roosevelt's Secret War' Wonderful!
  5. Blisswhacked
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    Blisswhacked - February 26, 2013 7:37 pm
    I guess I will take from that you are your own boss...you evidently then have employees to do the work. That would indeed give you time to post a lot.
  6. Balancr
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    Balancr - February 26, 2013 7:24 pm
    Oh yeah - and the polls overwhelmingly support a republican blame. Want to question those polls? You could always listen to the Fox News polls- I hear they're quite accurate (see where that gets you easy)
  7. Balancr
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    Balancr - February 26, 2013 7:12 pm
    But I'm not complainin. 2014 will now be just like the recent Presidential election. Boehner has a real nice PowerPoint in support of sequestration too I see. Liberals in support of massive tax cuts!!?? LOL. By the time elections come around- there will be no republican hiding from this forced obstruction. The nose dive continues...
  8. Redwall
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    Redwall - February 26, 2013 6:31 pm
    Waste is rampant in the federal and state government. That the so-called managers of this bureaucracy (from the president, throughout his cabinet, governor, and on down) cannot find 2.5% waste to cut without taking stupid risks and hurting people is outrageous.

    How sad, for us, to be subjected to this total void of leadership.

    Report Abuse
    LAXTEA - February 26, 2013 4:27 pm
    I'll just give you a hint. I have the best boss in the world.
  10. LAXTEA
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    LAXTEA - February 26, 2013 4:25 pm
    I do. I think they are at ten times the level they need to be for a "social safety net".
  11. LAXTEA
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    LAXTEA - February 26, 2013 4:23 pm
    OK, moron. Obama came up with the sequester idea, signed it into law and threatened a veto in 2011 if congress looked for a short-term fix to avoid the automatic spending cuts. The evil republicans aren't responsible. This is just another of Ovomit's political stunts.

  12. LAXTEA
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    LAXTEA - February 26, 2013 4:19 pm
    Opus, I am actually a productive member of society, not a leach. I suppose I could lay myself off?
  13. NavyVet
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    NavyVet - February 26, 2013 12:54 pm
    LAXTEA, you sure seem to have a lot of time to post on here. Please share with us where you work that your employer allows you so much time online not doing work.... or maybe you're just 1 of the freeloaders yourself
  14. David Lee
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    David Lee - February 26, 2013 12:48 pm
    Second posting of yours that I totally agree with your posting. I'm beginning to worry.
  15. Tim Russell
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    Tim Russell - February 26, 2013 12:27 pm
    That was really a meritless post Mr. 11th Place.
  16. Opus
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    Opus - February 26, 2013 12:19 pm
    youthinkyouknow - Yes I do pin it on the republicans! They have not come to the table to negotiate, therefore they are to blame.

    LAXTEA - "I will be ELATED if even ONE government "worker" gets laid off." Nice. You are a class act. I hope you get laid off too.
  17. allcav
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    allcav - February 26, 2013 12:00 pm
    This isn't going to happen at the airport. It's just fear mongering. No way that UNICOM will be sufficient for commercial air. You see enough idiots in their little Cessnas crossing the runway as a Delta flight is landing as it is.
  18. Buggs Raplin
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    Buggs Raplin - February 26, 2013 11:35 am
    Regarding the budget, why not drastically change our foreign policy, bring all the troops home from all over the world, and stop meddling in the affairs of other countries. End all foreign aid to other countries, and all military aid as well. For starters, let's get out of Afghanistan asap. Think of the savings, not only in dollars, but in the lives of our troops.
  19. Tim Russell
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    Tim Russell - February 26, 2013 11:17 am
    Low information voters are those that believe austerity will result in the economy rebounding. Please give me one example where austerity helped any economy in the world recover from a recession.
  20. Hockeydad
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    Hockeydad - February 26, 2013 10:40 am
    No mention of how much the cuts at LaCrosse would save?
  21. pheasant
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    pheasant - February 26, 2013 10:38 am
    In the Farmington Air Control pill box they can handle the rest.
  22. pheasant
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    pheasant - February 26, 2013 10:38 am
    Yet another purposeful/concentrated Press release on something scary??????

    The fact, Lacrosse COULD be run safely with one person in the tower. For approach and ground control. This is Bulls##hit, and scare tactics at it's worse. Our President is a Snake Oil Salesman.
  23. Gambrinus
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    Gambrinus - February 26, 2013 10:21 am
    This article is pure propaganda for low information voters. The federal government is spending over $800 more annually for every person in the US than it did when Obama started his reign of economic incompetence and fear mongering. Even after sequestration, our national budget will expand next year. There is never enough cash flow to pay for all the President's schemes. We would need to raise taxes over 35% just to balance the budget let alone expand government as Obama is inclined to do. Working with the President is economic suicide for this Nation.
  24. LAXTEA
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    LAXTEA - February 26, 2013 10:14 am
    WRONG. I will be ELATED if even ONE government "worker" gets laid off. But if you hadn't learned math in government schools you would realize that there will be NO budget cuts due to the sequester. The budget will INCREASE by $12 billion.

    The left is ginning-up a "crisis" just to spank the GOP again.
  25. Gambrinus
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    Gambrinus - February 26, 2013 10:09 am
    The Obama Sequester: He Was For It, Before He Was Against Ithttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcXBkawkHJM

    Now that the election is over, the President has the audacity to try to pin the responsibility for sequestration on Republicans. Since some Republicans foolishly helped him raise the debt ceiling yet again, Obama pushed through billion$ for non Sandy related items in the 'emergency' Sandy bill. Two weeks ago, every Democratic senator and 22 Republican Senators voted to give the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt 20 F-16's and 50 tanks as part of $1.6B in foreign aid. Although Obama had money to slosh around for those things he has taken to frightening Americans about how he will hold our safety hostage unless he gets more taxes.

    There are alternatives. Sen. Paul has offered a bill which would make cuts without laying anyone off. For instance, his bill would cut foreign aid by 50% which would save $20B of the $85B sequestration request. Obama would rather scare monger it seems.
  26. olderthandirt
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    olderthandirt - February 26, 2013 9:57 am
    This is such a joke. If you compare what the white house is talking about cutting their budget, to an average taxpaying families budget, it is like cutting $2.30 from a $100 a week budget. Obama owns this mess and is flying around the country campaigning, blaming those evil Republicans. Face it, our government is going farther and farther into debt while OWEBAMA wants to increase the governments size and spending, while raising our taxes. Maybe if the public employees feel the pinch like the rest of the world they will understand. Funny, how the Democrats want to start cutting the military budget right away!
  27. you think you know
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    you think you know - February 26, 2013 9:34 am
    The liberal media is either so uninformed on this sequestration it's scary, or they just don't care to report the truth! There are no cuts to the current budget or funding. The only thing changing is future budgets, and the $85 billion they keep saying is less than a 3% budget cut. And it's pro-rated to the fiscal year, so will actually be less than $50 billion. On top of that, the budget is still bigger next year than this year.

    So if you are pitting this on republicans Opus, at being at fault, what is the solution? Raise taxes on the rich again? Make them pay more of their fair share? Raise taxes on who exactly, who deserves who have taxes raised? Maybe Obama's buddy Zuckerburg, who's company Facebook paid no Federal taxes...with over a $1 billion profit.

    Look at this as your household. If you spend more than you make, you can't force your boss to pay you more...you have to spend less! Break this down to a small scope and maybe it will make sense to your liberal mind!
  28. easy
    Report Abuse
    easy - February 26, 2013 9:12 am
    You are ever so wrong, oh knee-jerk thinker. The very idea and concept of sequestration came right out of Obama's White House in mid 2011. It belongs solely to Obama, regardless of his lies now talking about Republicans.

    Do you know who Bob Woodward is? He's a pretty big boy in journalism. He himself proved this. Google it.

    And Tim Russell's comment betrays basic ignorance too.

    This is all your loving lying leader, OBAMA!

    I am not a tea partier, so don't jump to your usual knee-jerk and wrong conclusions. I am an independent, and an independent thinker.
  29. Opus
    Report Abuse
    Opus - February 26, 2013 9:04 am
    LAXTEA is also unmoved by the fact that people will be laid off due to the republicans, especially those tea party republicans, who refuse to work with the president.
  30. Tim Russell
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    Tim Russell - February 26, 2013 7:53 am
    There are certain expenses that are exempt from sequestration - social security, medicare, vet's care, etc.
    So are you saying those items should have their funds sequestered as well?
  31. Balancr
    Report Abuse
    Balancr - February 26, 2013 7:24 am
    Sequestration - a shock and awe tea party dream. Why wait for a catastrophe - when you can create your own. Never fear Laxtea- despite John Boehner's best efforts - republicans will get blamed, even with your "Sky is falling" rationale in support of a sequestor.
  32. LAXTEA
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    LAXTEA - February 26, 2013 6:58 am
    Who believes this nonsense? The federal budget will be $12 BILLION larger next year WITH sequestation. But we are being told by even the local media that airplanes will be flying uncontrolled and people in wheelchairs are going to starve because less meals on wheels?

    If the federal government is $12 billion BIGGER next year, what possible reason could there be for less "services"?
  33. Joe Walsh
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    Joe Walsh - February 26, 2013 6:24 am
    Ha ha...no kidding. "La Crosse airport could air traffic controllers" It's like a mad lib!
  34. bb
    Report Abuse
    bb - February 26, 2013 6:22 am
    "Seriously Now"

    They are using "air" as a verb, as in dissolve, it is actually kind of clever.
  35. Seriously Now
    Report Abuse
    Seriously Now - February 26, 2013 5:18 am
    Fix your headline, please!
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