Published: Jul 22, 2011 5:34 PM EDT
Updated: Jul 22, 2011 4:05 PM EDT

A partial F.A.A. shutdown is looming and it could mean layoffs, but it could also mean cheaper airfare.

It's all happening at midnight.

Congress must extend the agency's operating authority by midnight or nearly 4,000 people will be temporarily out of work. But you may want to go online and book that flight you've been waiting on, because it also means airlines won't be able to collect federal taxes on tickets.

For a three hundred dollar airfare, that could amount to about 60 dollars in savings.

Whatever happens in Washington, airlines will still operate as normal and air traffic controllers will remain on the job.

But Transportation Secretary Ray La Hood says thousands of jobs that are funded with ticket tax revenues would be furloughed.

The sticking point is a provision sought by house repbulcians and the airline industry that would make it more difficult for airline and railroad workers to unionize.

If an agreement isn't reached, the government will lose 200 million dollars a week in airline ticket taxes and 2.5 billion dollars in airport construction projects will come to a halt.