The San Jose City Council called a special meeting on Jan. 16 to discuss emergency loans for federal workers employed at San Jose Mineta International Airport during the government shutdown.
Loans for roughly 500 air traffic controllers, Transportation Security Administration employees, customs officers and others would be paid back without interest after employees receive back pay.
The shutdown has gone on for nearly a month — the longest in history — and was brought about by President Donald Trump’s demands to fund a border wall.
According to Mayor Sam Liccardo’s proposal, TSA absences at San Jose airport have jumped from 3 percent to 14 percent during the shutdown. The proposal is an effort to keep the airport in operation while addressing workers’ needs, 48 percent of whom are San Jose residents.
“I hope the irony of what we’re doing doesn’t go unnoticed,” Councilwoman Magdalena Carrasco said. “While in D.C., there’s a shutdown … we’re trying to keep flights and an airport open … and we’re trying to do so by taking care of our people.”
Loans will be sourced from the city’s airport fund, which would offer up about $7.5 million to cover a “worst-case scenario” of three shutdown months, according to the proposal. The fund currently has about $50 million in reserve, and the allotment could be increased if the shutdown stretches even longer.
Liccardo suggested during the meeting that the loans can be administered by Wells Fargo, the city’s bank.
Staff will gather further details and the City Council will revisit the proposal and funding at another special meeting in the coming weeks.
Story originally published by Bay City News.