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Sequestration and Projected Furloughs Causing Concern

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Across-the-board spending cuts are forcing U.S. Customs and Border Protection to make cutbacks.  The result is already evident in the Port of Long Beach in California.

Sean Strawbridge, the managing director for the port, says essential operations are already being affected less than a week into sequestration.  He says there is already a backup of ships waiting to dock.

Strawbridge says the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach move over a billion dollars worth of goods a day “so any impact has an amplified effect not only on the local economy but the regional and the nation economy as well.”

At California’s Port of Hueneme, port CEO Kristen Decase says the Fed has cut overtime, which means the port can no longer conduct business on Saturdays.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Tuesday that expected furloughs at Customs and Border Protection would mean wait times at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York would increase 50 percent.

Speaking at a New York Police Department counterterror meeting, Napolitano said at peak arrival times, the wait at Customs could be four hours.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association announced on Tuesday that the Federal Aviation Administration has informed the group that it intends to send furlough notices to all its employees, a decision that the association says beginning next month will result in “fewer air traffic controllers in towers and radar rooms helping our national airspace work.”

The association issued a statement saying that as a result of the sequester-generated furloughs “fewer flights will be able to take off and land and the traveling public and the many businesses that rely on our air travel system will be impacted by the delays.”

The air traffic controllers group warns that the FAA “intends to close many towers around the country that provide critically important safety and efficiency services to aviation, keeping our system vibrant, growing and crucial to our economy.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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