St. Petersburg Times
By Steve Huettel, Times Staff Writer
Posted: Feb 16, 2011 06:49 PM
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's amendment to stop new flights from the United States to Cuba failed to become part of a Federal Aviation Administration funding bill, said Alex Burgos, a Rubio spokesman. Rubio will continue to offer the measure if the Obama administration doesn't stop plans to expand flights to countries, like Cuba, that are designated by the State Department as state sponsors of terrorism, he said. Last month, Obama changed rules that allowed the charter flights to fly from only three cities: Miami, New York and Los Angeles. Tampa International and other airports in Florida applied for authorization from U.S. Customs and Border Protection to host the new flights. The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday asked to withdraw his amendment. "I sincerely hope that you will withdraw (the amendment) in order to more accurately reflect the resolve of the entire state," wrote Robert Rohrlack Jr., the chamber's CEO.