Sequester effects will hit airports immediately

Published: .
Updated: .

Today is the final day for President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders to come up with an agreement for $85-billion in spending cuts.

It's unlikely they'll meet the deadline. And if they don't, what does sequestration mean for Indiana? 

The sequestration has been described as an inconvenience, rather than a complete government shut-down.

One of the first places you'll notice a difference is at the Indianapolis International Airport. Budget cuts at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will mean longer security lines. On average, it will take you about 90 minutes to get through security if the sequester takes effect. 

All airports will feel the cutbacks, but specifically in Indianapolis, there may be less noticeable effects. Projects to rehabilitate runways here and reconstruct taxiways that are currently on the calendar will be delayed.

You may notice a delay in other federal services as well. 

"Luckily, while we get money from the federal government, the state is pretty much autonomous on how they handle their budgets," explained University of Indianapolis Economics Professor Matt Will. "But any services you get from the federal government - Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid - those kinds of things - while linked to the state, are very much federal programs and therefore, will likely see a slowdown in service."

Obama meets Congressional leaders Friday.  

And a vote is planned by Republicans next week to fund day-to-day operations of the government through September. 

Along with transportation, education is another area expecting to feel the effects of the sequester, with the possibility of teachers and other educators being laid off. That means higher student-teacher ratios and larger class sizes.

Programs like Head Start and Early Head Start would be eliminated, affecting about one thousand children in Indiana.

Along with education, up to 600 disadvantaged children could lose access to childcare.

A lot of those cuts will be determined by the state, and Governor Pence says Indiana is in a better position than most states.  "Our budget called for $127-million in new funding," Pence said. "With regard to early childhood education, loss of access to existing programs, our administration and leaders have expressed strong support for access to pre-K programs."

Pence said his administration and lawmakers are evaluating the effect the sequester will have on Hoosier programs and how they can mitigate those effects.

The silver lining is that while Indiana will feel the impact, it's not expected to be devastating.