A dozen aviation groups are urging lawmakers to fully fund the contract air traffic control tower program, saying in a letter that it provides vital safety benefits for airports that otherwise would not have such services.

The letter, sent to members of the House and Senate Appropriations committees, comes as the White House has recommended shaving $2 million from the program, but also placing a larger cost-share on communities that benefit from contract towers.

The aviation organizations are seeking $136.1 million for the program, along with an additional $10.35 million to continue the contract tower cost-sharing program.

“These 249 [contract] towers handle approximately 28% of all air traffic control tower aircraft operations in the U.S. but account for just 14% of FAA’s overall budget allotted to total ... tower operations,” the letter says. “Absent this highly successful federal program, many local communities and smaller airports would not receive the significant safety benefits of ATC services.”

Signing the letter were officials from the American Association of Airport Executives, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Regional Airline Association, National Association of State Aviation Officials, Airports Council International-North America, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Air Traffic Control Association, National Business Aviation Association, National Air Transportation Association, Cargo Airline Association, Air Carrier Association of America and Regional Air Cargo Carriers Association.