D.C. Budget Battle Affects Nevada Jobs - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

D.C. Budget Battle Affects Nevada Jobs

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John Potter

Channel 2 News

It's hard to imagine…important work at Reno-Tahoe International, stopped. That's the outcome the airport's Brian Kulpin sees if the FAA doesn't get their funding. "Projects like this ramp repaving could stop. The sound insulation project could stop. A taxiway project at Rock and Mill may not move forward for awhile. There are projects up in Stead..."

But the budget crisis in Washington has already affected projects and employment in Nevada and California. In Las Vegas, 40 workers building the new airport control tower there were told not to come to work Monday morning. Work at the new air tower in Oakland, California was also stopped. The FAA is now technically shut down, with 4,000 workers furloughed. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said it best last Friday: "This is no way to run the best aviation system in the world."

At Reno-Tahoe International, Brian Kulpin told us "I've been doing this for 19 years, 7 here at this airport. I've never seen anything quite like this." He was standing in front of one of those needed projects…a construction crew replacing worn concrete outside 3 B gates temporarily closed to get the work done. When that's finished, the crew will move further north to replace old concrete there. But they could be stopped in their tracks. As Kulpin pointed out, "As you can tell, if this project stopped right now, we'd literally have a torn-up ramp. The busiest ramp here at the airport, having this kind of hole in it."

There's also the sound insulation program for 3,500 homes north and south of the airport…a new taxiway extension for planes to be build near Rock Blvd. and Mill St., and improvements for Reno-Stead airport. Altogether, $9.3 million in projects, which give jobs to about 350 workers, are all facing an uncertain future.

Now, if you're flying from here or have visitors coming in, this does not affect flights. Air traffic controllers remain on the job and all safety functions are still in operation. It's most everything else connected with the FAA that are in peril. As Kulpin told us, "This is a tough time, and it shows how these issues in Washington that seem so far away could come right home to roost."

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