RALEIGH A bill to transfer control and ownership of Charlotte’s airport from the city to a new, independent authority is scheduled to be taken up Wednesday by the state House Finance Committee in one of the final steps needed before passage by the chamber.
But the committee won’t act on the bill if a compromise on changes to the legislation can’t be reached, said Rep. Bill Brawley, a Matthews Republican and a main sponsor of the airport bill.
“We are still talking and trying to come up with a compromise,” Brawley told the Observer Monday evening.
Brawley said changes will be made to the current version of the House bill, but he said he didn’t want to “prejudice negotiations” by commenting further. The measure previously passed the House Transportation Committee with only slight changes from an earlier, Senate-passed version.
Supporters of a new authority have said that Charlotte-Douglas International Airport must be “depoliticized” and that the city is driving up costs for US Airways, endangering the city’s hub status. Aviation Director Jerry Orr, a city employee who has run the airport since 1989, has said he supports creating an independent authority.
The city, however, strongly opposes the current bill. Charlotte City Manager Ron Carlee has said it could throw the airport into “chaos.”
The bill under consideration by the House would create an 11-member authority with seven appointments made by the surrounding counties and the General Assembly. If approved by both chambers, the bill does not need the signature of Gov. Pat McCrory, Charlotte’s former mayor, because it’s a so-called local bill.
The Charlotte Chamber last week called on leaders to reach consensus on the authority issue and said they should use the recommendations from a city-funded study that called for Charlotte to have a majority of the appointments on an authority board.
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