Tampa International Airport may be getting a new traffic control tower

A new air traffic control tower may be in Tampa International Airport's future after President Biden earmarked the project for funding in his new fiscal year budget proposal.

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor announced the potential funding during a news conference at the airport Monday.

"[The tower] truly has reached the end of its useful life," said Castor, D-Tampa, adding the air traffic controllers deserve a better workplace. "They are the ones with the eyes in the sky, keeping us safe every day with thousands of flights coming in and out."

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The President is proposing allocating $662 million for FAA facilities replacement. A new air traffic control tower at TPA is among the projects that would be in line to receive a chunk of that funding.

The current tower was built more than 50 years ago, along with the airport itself. As the airport has undergone a massive recent renovation, however, the tower has remained mostly unchanged.

Jen McCoy, representative for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association in Tampa, said issues at the current tower have been mounting.

"We have a lot of plumbing issues, sewage issues, sewage backups, fumes from that," said McCoy, adding there are also problems with elevators, air conditioning and oudated equipment. "It's a little demoralizing to come in to work and have to face these issues again and again."

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While McCoy said the challenges have never put air travelers at risk, a new tower is still long overdue.

"When we have all new that kind of infrastructure, I think it's going to help keep things running a lot more smoothly," she said.

There's no current timeline for this project, as the funding still needs Congressional approval.