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Oakland Workers Express Increasing Frustration Over FAA Shutdown

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Artist rendering of the Oakland Control Tower (Oakland International airport website)

Artist rendering of the Oakland Control Tower (Oakland International airport website)

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OAKLAND (KCBS/AP) – A stalemate that has partially shut down the Federal Aviation Administration is expected to continue into September, halting airport construction projects around the country, including work on the control tower at Oakland International Airport.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid initially said that he would be willing to accept a House Republican bill to restore the FAA’s operating authority, even though it contained cuts in subsidies for rural air service that some Democrats oppose. But he later reversed course on a possible deal as the Senate leaves for its August recess on Tuesday.

KCBS’ Bob Melrose Reports:

The FAA’s operating authority was allowed to expire on July 23. Nearly 4,000 FAA employees have been laid off and stop work orders have been issued for more than 200 construction projects.

Construction on the new $31 million air traffic control tower at the Oakland International Airport remains on hold, frustrating city officials and workers alike.

“This job is a vital part of my education as an apprentice,” said Ashley Davidson, an apprentice electrician. “The way our apprenticeship works is you do five years of on-the-job training. Even being set back a couple of weeks, it can really affect the skills you learn.”

About 60 workers at the Oakland job site have been furloughed.

The FAA is losing almost $30 million in ticket taxes each day the deadlock continues.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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