By Keith Laing - 08/16/11 03:36 PM EDT
LaHood said FAA workers also expressed concerns about pay they missed during the 13-day partial shutdown of the agency. Members of Congress have introduced a bill to provide back pay to the employees were furloughed, but with lawmakers not scheduled to return to Washington until September, it would be several weeks before they could be repaid.
"We're working with Congress to ensure that our employees receive back pay for the time that they were furloughed," LaHood wrote Tuesday. "Congress owes it to our workers, and I am urging them to make sure this gets done as soon as possible."
In the meantime, a relief fund has been established by the FAA Managers Association so other federal workers can make donations to help provide assistance to the workers were furloughed.
Although the agency was never fully closed, the partial shutdown of the FAA was projected to have cost the federal government $30 million per day as taxes on airplane ticket sales that are normally paid were not authorized to be collected until Congress passed a funding bill for the FAA.
In addition to the furloughed FAA employees, about 70,000 construction employees were also estimated to have been put out of work when airport construction projects were stalled during the impasse.