McCrory weighs in on airport fight

by: Mark Becker Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Gov. Pat McCrory said over and over that he wants to get politics out of the airport fight.

He sounded like he was trying to clarify and maybe even soften his comments made on that Charlotte radio program Monday morning.

A big Charlotte booster during his time as mayor, since he became governor McCrory said little about the battle over Charlotte's airport until Monday.

"Who should run and control and own the airport," asked Mike Collins.

"The city of Charlotte," said McCrory.

"Who should run and control and own the airport," said Collins.

"The city of Charlotte," said McCrory.

The question came at the very end of the governor's hour-long interview on WFAE Radio, and with the theme music already playing in the background Collins then asked about the controversial airport director Jerry Orr.

"Jerry Orr is 71 years old, he's been great for the airport but it's time to move on," said McCrory.

That may come as a surprise to Orr and McCrory's fellow Republicans who have been pushing first for the airport authority and now commission.

"It is not for McCrory to make these statements," said Sen. Bob Rucho (R).

Rucho said it is ultimately up to a judge to decide if the airport commission is legal, that decision may come early next month and Rucho said he would still want Orr to handle the transition until he retires in 2015.

The governor's comments also caught some people off guard at City Hall.

Incoming Mayor Pat Cannon said he is glad the governor has finally weighed in.

"I think it's good that the governor has begun to engage in the process. There's nothing wrong with anyone stating their opinion, he stated his opinion and now we'll see where we can go ..." said Cannon.

The governor said he believes Jerry Orr still brings value to the airport, but he would not say specifically what he thought Orr's role might be if he were to stay on.