"Radio beacons and radars could sit unused while the technicians who repair them are at home without pay. Planes will stack up in the air and line up on the ground as air traffic control struggles to cope with the furlough of hundreds of controllers on any given day.
"And more than 200 air traffic control towers, including almost all of the control towers in my home state of West Virginia, could be closed -- possibly for good."
Rural America, Rahall believes, depends on aviation more than any other part of the country does.
"As we stand on the precipice, I cannot help but think: Here we go again. The FAA limped along under 23 short-term extensions before a long-term reauthorization was finally enacted last year."
In 2011, Rahall added, Republican opposition in the House delayed passage of a new FAA bill that put "almost 4,000 employees on furlough without pay and cost almost $400 million in lost revenue....
"We have an obligation to our constituents not only to cut the deficit, but also to ensure a government that fulfills its most basic and essential responsibilities, like keeping the flying American public safe."
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.