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South Florida Lawmakers Fighting to Keep Small Airport Control Towers

A group of local lawmakers visited the control tower of one of South Florida's busiest municipal airports Thursday to highlight the need to keep it running. North Perry Airport's tower was due to close this weekend as part of the nationwide federal sequestration cuts. Congresswoman Frederica Wilson took a tour of the facility with the mayors of Miramar and Pembroke Pines, where the airport is located. 

Earlier this week, Broward County commissioners voted to spend $43,000 a month to keep the tower operating nine hours a day. Commissioner Sue Gunzberger says the monthly tab will be paid out of North Perry's operating fund -- not taxpayer dollars.

"That money was taken from a fund where they were going to do some building and construction that can be delayed, in order to keep the tower open", Gunzberger said.

But that will only keep the control tower going until September 30th. Commissioners say they will set up a task force to find ways of funding the tower beyond that date.

Meanwhile, Boca Raton Airport's control tower, scheduled to shut down on May 5th, is fighting for its life. This week, the members of the Boca Airport Authority voted unanimously to sue the Federal Aviation Administration for the right to keep the tower open.