A bill that would transfer control of Charlotte Douglas International Airport from the city of Charlotte to an independent authority is getting swift attention from the General Assembly, and North Carolina's new governor.
Senate Bill 81, which would create the independent Charlotte Regional Airport Authority, was poised to pass the upper chamber this week. It was filed by Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, on Feb. 13 and quickly made its way through committees. A companion bill has been filed in the House.
Gov. Pat McCrory, former mayor of Charlotte, called for the legislative process to slow down this week, though he did not express an opinion about whether it should ultimately be approved, according to the Charlotte Observer.
McCrory, who early this year became the state's first Republican governor in more than two decades, suggested that city officials and business leaders needed to discuss the matter, the paper said. The Charlotte City Council on Monday voted to spend $150,000 to study the airport's governance.
Questions have also been raised about the fate of the airport's $800 million of outstanding debt should the city transfer the airport to an authority.
The major east coast hub for U.S. Airways saw passenger traffic reach a record high in 2012 with 41 million travelers, a 5.6% jump from 2011. It was the sixth-busiest for passengers in 2011.
The airport currently is in the midst of a $511 million multi-year capital program, and is planning to build a fifth runway.