Stuart, Boca airport towers may stay open: Waiting for President to sign FAA bill

Initially slated to close June 15th

STUART, Fla. - Across the runways and up to the highest point in Martin County, a handful of air traffic controllers monitor the takeoffs and landings from Witham Field in Stuart.

Despite arguably the best views in Martin County, the workers don't see a clear future.

"There's been a tremendous lack of communication from the FAA as to where we stand," said Tim Barrett, the Air Traffic Manager at Witham.

The bill passed in Washington last week would allow the FAA to spend money to keep 149 smaller airport towers around the country open. But since Witham's tower opened in 1999, it has always been staffed by outside contract employees.

"That (the bill) has no bearing on the contract tower companies.  It only authorizes the FAA should they choose, to use that money to continue us to September 30th.  So we are yet again in a holding pattern," added Barrett.

Airport manager George Stokus says while the airport  could continue to operate without a manned control tower, pilots have told him that it's always better to have an extra set of eyes.

"We're appreciative that our Washington delegation has passed this bill and we're continuing the pressure with secretary LaHood so they will seek discretionary funds for the US Contract Tower Association," said Stokus.

So until the money actually lands here, it's still touch and go for some.
 

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