FAA funding uncertainty leaves Tucson airport project stuck

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- The budget battles in Congress also left the Federal Aviation Administration unfunded and partially shut down since late July.

That put thousands of people out of work and projects on hold, including in Tucson.

"We asked before we ended the session that we should stay, the democrats asked can we stay and deal with this FAA question," said Representative Raul Grijalva.

Four thousand people out of work, 70,000 construction workers on hold and $35 billion worth of projects across the country have been halted while the debt ceiling debates dragged on.

At Tucson International Airport a $10 million project to fix a run way is idle right now.

"We have a portion of the grant money in hand.  It's a total 10 million dollar project, we're waiting for the balance of the funding to move forward," said Jill Merrick from Tucson International Airport.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. Late Thursday afternoon, congressional leaders signaled they had a deal in place that should be passed Friday.

Leaders caution the deal allows thousands to return to work but a number of differences remain unresolved.

"This is ridiculous to have in the middle of this economic crisis to have 70,000 construction workers out of work and the worse thing is that we're losing a billion dollars in tax payer revenue that could be coming into the treasury," said Grijalva.

And already, Tucson's airport administration has had to change things up these past two weeks.

"With the two week shutdown that's been in place we've already had to revise our project schedule.  And there's some uncertainty when the FAA resumes as to when the balance of the grant is going to be forth coming," said Merrick.

The Senate will pass the necessary legislation by unanimous consent on Friday while Congress is on recess.