JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Sen. Bill Nelson hopes a bill he and two other senators have filed will keep the Federal Aviation Administration control towers open until the end of the fiscal year, when a new budget will take effect without the cuts that are forcing the towers to close.

Nelson is pushing to keep the control towers open at St. Augustine's Northeast Florida Regional Airport and other small airports around the country.

The FAA had planned to start closing towers April 7 because of forced budget cuts. That's been delayed until June 15 because of legal challenges.

Nelson, along with two other Senators, a Republican and a Democrat, have filed a bill they call the Protect Our Skies Act, aimed at keeping the towers open.

Nelson says they have a critical role.

"This is a matter of safety, particularly in an airport like St. Augustine that's got a lot of high-performance aircraft coming in and out of the airport," Nelson said.