Workers at Memphis International a casualty of bickering - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Workers at Memphis International a casualty of congressional bickering

(WMC-TV) - Over a dozen workers at Memphis International Airport are now the casualties of congressional bickering.

Specifically, sticking points in a budget battle between the U.S. House and Senate have grounded 13 Memphis FAA workers. Republicans want to cut subsidies to rural airports and make it harder for airline and railroad workers to unionize, but Democrats won't budge.

Monday, Action News 5 asked Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority president Larry Cox what it all means to Memphis travelers.

"This is not going to have any impact on their ability to fly in and out of Memphis," Cox said.

Cox said FAA District Office administrators were told not to come to work, but their absence won't affect day-to-day operations.

"They are the funding source for federal airport improvement grants," Cox said.

The stalemate also means the 7.5 percent federal tax you usually pay for your airline ticket expired. But don't expect any savings on your next flight, as many airlines raised fares to compensate.

"It's a tax holiday for the airlines, but not for the traveling public," Cox said.

Finally, the FAA fight put a stop-order on a construction project in Memphis International's Airports new air traffic control building, where a construction company was putting the finishing touches on a recent renovation and planning to demolish the old building.

There was nearly $2 million of work left on the $59 million project. While the project is on hold, the air traffic control office remains fully operational. Critical airport personnel like air traffic controllers are not affected.

Cox said this is not the first standoff of this kind, and he does not expect it to last beyond this week.

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