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Palm Springs airport tower construction put on hold

August 3, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Palm Springs International Airport is looking forward to a new, state-of-the-art control tower.

Construction is well under way. However, the project is now on hold because of congressional fighting over FAA funding.

Even though it's still under construction, the new control tower already dwarfs the old one. Not only is it a much needed upgrade, but it's a federal project that claims to be putting America to work.

But what the government gives, it can also take away. And that's what's happened.

Because Congress can't come to an agreement on FAA funding, construction has come to a halt and all workers have been ordered off the job site.

"We sort of got a warning a little bit on Thursday July 21," said contractor Rich Garcia. "Friday the next day we got an official letter saying to cease construction operations."

Garcia is the project manager for Swinerton Builders. He says about 60 workers are no longer getting paid.

"I think everybody is wanting to get back to work," said Garcia. "They want to continue getting a paycheck and it's everybody's concern."

The project itself is almost halfway finished. And it's still close to being on target for completion in late 2012, early 2013.

But that all depends on Congress coming to an agreement.

"Unfortunate it is," said PSP Director Thomas Nolan. "We are confident Congress will act, but the question is when they will do that. In the meantime the project just remains no construction, and it will resume as soon as Congress does its thing."

So for now, the project is on hold and as many as 60 people are out of work.


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