Airport Bill Renews Battle
CHARLOTTE, NC -- A sneak attack, drafted in secret and sprung on the rest of the Senate.
That's how some lawmakers are describing the NC Senate finance bill that puts the fight to control Charlotte-Douglas International back on the front burner.
"It's just kind of a little bit of a power grab from Raleigh," says Lake Wylie resident Rose Andrews.
A bill backed by Senator Bob Rucho and Representative Ruth Samuelson, who both represent Mecklenburg, would put operational control of the airport into the hands of a new commission. It is something the city of Charlotte has been fighting in court.
"As close to the people as possible. That's the best government," says Charlotte City Council member, and former mayor, Patsy Kinsey. "And I think that the city has done a very, very good job of managing the airport."
"The city is the primary owner," says Andrews. "It's a city asset, so I think it should remain under city control, not Raleigh."
Reaction to the bill was swift. Mayor Dan Clodfelter tells WCCB: "I would ask that the General Assembly stand down from this new legislative proposal while local discussions in Charlotte continue."
There is strong reaction in Raleigh as well. Senator Jeff Jackson, who also represents Mecklenburg, tells WCCB the wording of the bill would jeopardize the city's legal status.
"What the bill does is reinforce that the property is owned by the city, but that the operations will be controlled by the state. Specifically by the commission," says Jackson.
The FAA continues to wait on a resolution between state and city saying: "...until the State’s Attorney General and the city of Charlotte resolve this matter, the city remains the airport sponsor..."
The Charlotte Airport Ccommission Clarifications bill passed through committee. It did not come to a vote on the Senate floor this afternoon.