By Keith Laing
The concerns about the impacts of sequestration on transportation have been shared by travel industry supporters.
According to report released recently by Democrats on the House
Appropriations Committee, TSA would furlough airport security screeners
for seven days under sequestration, and the FAA would furlough workers
for 11 days.
The report added that the U.S. Coast Guard would have to cut its air and surface operations by 25 percent.
U.S. Travel Association Domestic Policy Director Erik Hansen has warned that "travel could become the new face of the sequester.
"We think travel may be the way everyday Americans will see the impact of sequestration," Hansen said in an interview with The Hill. "When TSA cuts back on staff, lines get longer. That does not just frustrate [travelers], but it slows our economy and makes us disconnected from our families and friends."
Sequestration was set up by Congress in a package of sweeping budget cuts
totaling $1.2 billion that would take effect if they could not reach a
deficit-reduction agreement in the Budget Control Act of 2011. The original deadline for the cuts was supposed to be the end of 2012, but the cuts were pushed back until the beginning of March by lawmakers.
Under the sequestration law, half of the budget cuts would comes would come from across-the-board cuts to federal agencies and other domestic spending programs. The remainder of the cuts would take place in the Department of Defense's budget.
Hansen said on Tuesday that the Travel Association has been trying to raise awareness
that the sequestration cuts would not impact just defense spending, which is
what they are most closely associated with.
Hansen added that he was grateful for Obama's inclusion of travel in his list of potential sequestration impacts on Tuesday, and he said the message was starting to get through to his association's members.
"The administration has always highlighted the importance of travel," he said. "Travel is one of the things that powered the economic recovery."
-This story was updated with new information at 3:58 p.m.