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Airport compromise appears unlikely in short session

More than a year after legislators first moved to take control of Charlotte Douglas International Airport from the city, the issue is stuck in limbo with no sign of a compromise on the horizon.

In July, the General Assembly created a 13-member commission to run the airport instead of the City Council. Charlotte promptly sued. Though the commission meets monthly, it is blocked by a judge from actually running Charlotte Douglas until a city lawsuit against the group is resolved.

Lawmakers told the Observer they haven’t heard any rumors of a compromise in the works. Robert Stolz, chairman of the new commission, said he doesn’t know of any change to its status.

“At this point there’s no news,” Stolz said. “There’s still plenty of interest out there to come to a settlement, but nothing’s changed.”

Though former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon and Gov. Pat McCrory had been working on a compromise, Cannon’s March 26 arrest on public corruption charges derailed those efforts. New Mayor Dan Clodfelter, a former state senator, didn’t respond to questions last week about whether he is working with McCrory.

State Rep. Tricia Cotham, a Mecklenburg Democrat, said she hopes the presence of Clodfelter, a veteran legislator, will help bridge the divide between Charlotte and Raleigh.

“I think Clodfelter will be a good, calming force,” she said.

The governor has said he supports Charlotte keeping control of the airport. But with no compromise on the table and the issue stuck in court, it’s unclear what the next move might be. Staff Writer Jim Morrill contributed.

Portillo: 704-358-5041; Twitter: @ESPortillo
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