Budget cuts could affect RDU

Raleigh Durham International Airport
February 25, 2013 1:12:53 PM PST
The clock is ticking down to midnight Thursday. That's when automatic federal spending cuts kick-in. The so-called 'sequester' could cause major impacts across the country.

President Obama expressed his frustration at the lack of action in Congress at the White House Monday.

"All of us are elected officials. We are concerned. At some point, we have to do some governing. We can't keep careening from crisis to crisis. Unfortunately, that's what we've been seeing too much happen," he offered.

Among the possible cuts we could see starting Friday are furloughs for airport screeners at checkpoints and also air traffic controllers. That would have a direct impact on travelers at Raleigh Durham International Airport.

It could mean fewer flights and longer wait times.

"With everything that's been going on lately through the years, you're going to need the TSA, you're going to need the security. That's the last thing that we need to cut," said traveler John Jackson of Pennsylvania.

Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood didn't mince words with reporters on the issue.

"Likely close more than 100 air traffic control towers at airports with fewer than 150 thousand flight operations per year," he explained.

RDU will likely avoid that scenario. An RDU spokesperson explained it had about 188,000 flight operations last year.

Still, travelers are worried the gridlock that will likely first be felt at major airports like Chicago and New York, which could affect travel in and out of RDU.

"In the business aspect, it's going to hurt a lot of people traveling back and forth around the country. They rely on the airplanes to get them back and forth and with everybody taking a day off, that won't be good," said Jackson.

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