NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — President Barack Obama has issued a travel warning to the flying public: If the government goes over the latest fiscal cliff, expect major delays at airports, especially those in the busy Tri-State Area.
Federal officials warn the arrivals and departures boards at metropolitan area airports will be filled with “delayed” signs if the automatic budget cuts known as “sequester” go into effect next week, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported.
“Flights to major cities like New York, Chicago and San Francisco and others could experience delays of up to 90 minutes during peak hours,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Friday.
And that’s not all. In the Obama administration’s latest attempt to scare House Republicans into raising taxes to avoid the budget cuts, it is promising a trifecta of airport delays.
Not only will flights be delayed because the number of air traffic controllers will be slashed, but screening will take longer because Transportation Security Administration agents will be cut. In addition, there will be delays in getting through customs because agents will lose their jobs.
“What I’m trying to do is wake up members of Congress on the Republican side, so we don’t have this kind of calamity in air service in America,” LaHood said.
Republican Congressman Peter King said instead of trying to blame the GOP, the president should try to meet them half way.
“The president is trying to scare people. I think right now his intention is to make it as bad as he can so to try to win the political battle with Republicans,” Rep. King said. “There’s really too much at stake here, especially in New York, the hurricane money, homeland security money and also with airports and mass transit.”
However, some believe the drama on the horizon is being created for other reasons.
“What I believe is the impact on the public is being exaggerated for political purposes,” said Jonathan Kahn of Queens.
Airline workers are not looking forward to dealing with delayed passengers.
“We deal with them now and it’s not pretty and it’s gonna be even worse,” said flight attendant Michelle Hutchinson, a West Hempstead resident.
The countdown clock to the cuts going into effect has seven days left on it. Congressman King said there are no negotiations to speak of, and he’s not optimistic about a solution.
But he said both sides have to try.
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