In short, thousands of FAA employees could suffer pay cuts or lose their jobs, five Maryland airports would lose air traffic control towers, including Hagerstown and Frederick Airports, and there would be less preventive maintenance and equipment support.
Local airports say this came just when business was taking off.
"Fuel sales starting to rise, we're seeing more corporate aircraft coming into Frederick, we're afraid that with the tower possibly closing, and being on the list, that could put a stop it this stuff," says Kevin Daugherty, Frederick Municipal Airport Manager.
In a letter to the public, the Secretary of Transportation says even though safety is their top priority "they may reduce the efficiency of national airspace."
Losing an on-site air traffic control tower would mean pilots would have to communicate with a remote tower. Now officials say that's taking a huge safety risk. Then ground control would be in pilots' hands, instead of the air traffic controller's.
"That's a gigantic safety issue for us. If we have somebody that's not paying attention to somebody coming in to land, they cross a runway in front of landing aircraft, you can just imagine what would happen; the catastrophe that we would have as a result of that," says Phil Ridenour, Hagerstown Regional Airport Director.
Local airports hope any control tower loss would be temporary, so they can hold on to their commercial airline services.
"They're carrying up to 166 passengers, so without tower control, there's always another issue with safety of the passengers flying public and the users of the airport," says Ridenour.
To airport officials and air traffic controllers, it's an issue of safety over dollars that should not be compromised.
If these proposed budget cuts go through, they'll go into place April 1, 2013. Local airport officials say they're working closely with U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski to prevent this.