RALEIGH A bill to transfer control and ownership of Charlotte’s airport from the city to a new, independent authority is in a holding pattern.
The measure was on the House Finance Committee’s calendar Wednesday, but it was pulled without any action being taken.
“Obviously, it is not ready to be in this committee,” Rep. Julia Howard, the committee’s senior chairman, said after announcing the move.
Rep. Bill Brawley, a Matthews Republican and a main sponsor of the bill, told the Observer on Tuesday that the committee might not take action on the legislation at the meeting. He has previously said that he did not want to move forward with the bill until reaching a compromise on changes to the legislation.
After Wednesday’s meeting, Brawley said he had no update to give on the bill’s status.
The measure previously passed the House Transportation Committee with only slight changes from an earlier, Senate-passed version. If approved by the Finance Committee, the bill would move to the House floor.
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.
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