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A necessary airport bill

From N.C. Rep. Ruth Samuelson of Mecklenburg:

Anyone who has ever been stuck at an airport knows how miserable it is. In the limbo between the whims of the weather and airline logistics, the not-knowing when or exactly how you will get to your final destination is the most excruciating part.

For the past year, our airport has been stuck in limbo between the Federal Aviation Administration and a state judge – each of whom seems to want the other to rule before they make a decision on the future of the airport.

The legislation filed by me and Sen. Bob Rucho this week was an attempt to break that deadlock so that all sides – and the airport itself – can move forward.

At odds is the ownership of the airport in light of legislation passed last year. Yet, as too often happens with litigation, the issue became maddeningly complex: a state judge said that he needed the FAA to rule before he could make a decision in the case, but the FAA said they needed clarity on the question of whether the airport is still part of the city or not.

In the face of this surreal stalemate, Sen. Rucho and I filed a simple bill this week to clarify that the city still owns the airport, and that the commission is an agency of the city.

While Sen. Rucho and I remain willing to resume discussions with the city, it is our hope that the bill filed this week will provide the information needed for the court and the FAA to free Charlotte-Douglas from legal limbo, and enable it to keep moving forward as the best run airport in the country.

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