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Sequester budget cuts take its toll locally

March 05, 2013|By Colleen Ferreira (cferreira@wsbt.com), Click here to follow Colleen on Twitter | WSBT-TV

SOUTH BEND – A $30 million dollar construction project in Indiana is delayed because of the sequester budget cuts.

$21 million of that $30 million was supposed to be used to fix up South Bend's National Guard Armory on Kemble Avenue.

Now there's no money for the project.  

The expansion at the South Bend Armory was set to take place this year.

Not only is the building old, the Indiana National Guard says it’s not as efficient as it could be.

A renovation and addition to the armory could mean new technology, the best resources for units to work with.

"This will delay it, not prevent it from happening in the future," said LTC Cathy Van Bree with the Indiana National Guard.

Federal cuts also mean 1,000 military technicians in Indiana’s National Guard will most likely be furloughed, meaning they'll work only four days a week.

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"It is frustrating. People are our best resource and for anybody to take a 20% pay cut isn't ideal," Van Bree said.

The cuts are close to home. 2 military technicians in South Bend will most likely see furloughs and 9 in Elkhart. The numbers get worse, too -- about 300 in Fort Wayne and 32 in Gary.

"This furlough won’t affect our ability to respond to emergencies." Van Bree said.

The cuts will start in April, and they're expected to last until the end of the fiscal year in September.

Indiana has 14,000 people in its National Guard. It’s the 6th largest in the country, so there's help available if they need it.

Around the country, people want to know how these cuts will affect them.

Some media reports say airports, like Chicago, already see TSA line delays because of the sequester budget cuts.

TSA is expected to cut overtime and institute a hiring freeze in the next few weeks when the budget cuts kick in.

The Chicago Department of Aviation told WSBT on Tuesday that they haven't seen any line delays or flight problems at O'Hare and Midway as a result of cuts.

They say aside from the weather, it's business as usual.

Officials at South Bend Regional Airport say the sequester cuts won’t have an effect on them.

They say only larger airports will see line delays because of budget cuts to TSA.

The FAA plans to furlough all air traffic controllers at least one day every two weeks.

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