OAKLAND (KCBS) – A multi-million dollar modernization project at the Oakland International Airport has come to a grinding halt following last week’s temporary Federal Aviation Administration shutdown.

Sixty people who were working on the new $31 million air traffic control tower are now off the job.

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Oakland International Airport spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes said it’s all because Congress failed to reauthorize FAA funding for this project and several others across the country.

KCBS’ Dave Padilla Reports:

“We do need to move forward with the project. It was 10 years in the making for us to work with the FAA to get the project off the ground,” Barnes said.

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More than 4,000 employees in 35 states have been furloughed because of this action. United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said it was all unnecessary.

“This is no way to run the best aviation system in the world,” LaHood said. “The fact that Congress can’t work this out is exactly why the American people are so fed up with Washington.”

Most of the new construction projects were for new air traffic control towers.

The Federal Aviation Administration said that passenger safety has not been compromised due to the partial shutdown.

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