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Budget cuts will close southland air traffic control towers, FAA says

RIVERSIDE, Calif. -  Airport traffic control towers in Riverside, Fullerton, Pacoima and San Diego County will close starting April 7 under the Federal Aviation Administration's forced spending cuts, the agency announced today.

Control towers are scheduled to close at Riverside Municipal Airport, Whiteman Airport in Pacoima, Fullerton Municipal Airport, Brown Field in San Diego and Ramona Airport in San Diego County, according to the FAA.

The Southland closures are among 149 federal contract towers nationwide expected to close within a four-week period.

"We heard from communities across the country about the importance of their towers and these were very tough decisions," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said.

In early March, the FAA proposed to close nearly 200 towers -- including the structure at Hawthorne Municipal Airport -- as part of its plan to meet the $637 million in cuts required under budget sequestration.

However, the Hawthorne facility was saved after the FAA made the decision the closure would negatively impact the national interest.

Also on the saved list is Santa Monica Airport, which will be considered in a later round of cuts, according to the FAA.

The FAA said it was targeting towers at airports with less than 150,000 takeoffs and landings and less than 10,000 commercial flights a year.

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