FAA shutdown would cost govt $200 million a week

By JOAN LOWY | July 21, 2011 | 3:00 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says the government will lose about $200 million a week in airline ticket taxes and that $2.5 billion in airport construction projects will come to a halt if the Federal Aviation Administration is forced to shut down.

A shutdown looks increasingly likely because Congress hasn't been able to come to an agreement on legislation to extend the FAA's operating authority by midnight Friday.

If that happens, airlines would no longer collect federal ticket taxes.

Transportation officials said Thursday that about 4,000 FAA workers — most of them in Washington, Atlantic City, N.J., and Oklahoma City — will furloughed.

LaHood says that this is no way to run what he calls "the best aviation system in the world."