Planes at New Jersey’s Newark International Airport are taking off on schedule, like they do (most of the time). Lines for passengers going through security have the same wait times as they did last week. Airport personnel still have their jobs.
But come next month, officials say, New Jerseyans could see the first substantive impact of “sequestration,” the across-the-board reductions that went into effect Friday and that slice $85 billion from spending through the end of the fiscal year in September.
The broadest impact, officials project, will occur as tens of thousands of employees begin one-day-a-week furloughs across the federal spectrum, from air-traffic controllers and Justice Department attorneys to meat inspectors and civilians who help manage New Jersey’s military installations.
Because furloughs require notice of 30-60 days, they are expected to begin in mid- to late April, creating a ripple effect on services and the economy in the coming months.
The Federal Aviation Administration and Democrats in New Jersey’s congressional delegation have raised alarms about delays at Newark Liberty and other big regional airports, saying that with fewer controllers and support personnel on hand, the number of flights could be cut dramatically.
Passengers also can expect longer lines at checkpoints.
Marsha Catron, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security, said the $1.2 billion lopped from the agency’s budget will translate into fewer screeners.