Fewer flights, longer lines expected without budget deal

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by Dave Cassidy, 13News

WVEC.com

Posted on February 22, 2013 at 8:11 AM

Updated Friday, Feb 22 at 8:21 AM

WASHINGTON, DC - One week from today, big cuts in federal spending start to kick in.

 

In Hampton Roads, the defense industry is already taking a hit, including the delayed overhaul of USS Abraham Lincoln at Newport News Shipbuilding and warn notices going out to more than 1,600 workers at BAE Systems shipyard in Norfolk.

Another place we're bound to see the impact is at the airport. The head of the U.S. Travel Association says the country is facing a travel "nightmare" unless Congress does something.

The first thing we'll notice are longer lines to get through airport security because the government will have to furlough TSA screeners. That could mean spending an extra hour or so in longer lines, depending on which airport you go through. For people returning from overseas, getting through customs could take even more time.

Thousands of air traffic controllers and technicians will be sent home without pay, but the Federal Aviation Administration says safety will not be affected. However, officials predict many flights will be delayed or some even cancelled because there will be fewer controllers on duty.

If the budget cuts lead to fewer flights - and passengers - we could lose a billion dollars in tax revenue. And the cuts are supposed to save money, not lose it.

These cuts were designed to upset people, to be so unreasonable, and upsetting that Congress would have to come up with cuts that made more sense. But that part hasn't happened and unless a deal is made, the cuts start a week from today.

Is there any way to adjust the cuts to avoid some of these problems? Congress voted to make all these cuts across the board - so agencies have no flexibility in deciding where to cut because everything gets cut. Lawmakers could vote to change the rules and let agencies make their own cuts when they return from vacation next week.

To learn more about the sequester problem, click here for the 13News/WVEC.com section: Sequestration: Finding Our Future.

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