• Vote on airport authority bill delayed until next week

    By: Linzi Sheldon


    RALEIGH, N.C. - The bill to take control of Charlotte-Douglas International Airport away from the city was delayed Thursday and is now expected to be voted on in the Senate on Wednesday.

    Sen. Bob Rucho said he is waiting for information on how an authority would affect millions in bonds issued by the city, backed by airport revenue, for airport improvements.

    Rucho said he still expects it to pass.

    A big question is how switching to an authority would affect security outside Charlotte-Douglas Airport, which is handled by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police.

    Eyewitness News asked officials at Raleigh-Durham International Airport what they do for security.

    "We have our own police department, our own operations, our own fire and rescue team, so we are, in essence, a small city," RDU spokesperson Mindy Hamlin said.

    The airport in Raleigh has always been run by an authority.

    So Eyewitness News also called the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, which went through a transition 10 years ago.

    The airport split off from the Unified Port of San Diego.

    It contracted with harbor police but officials did have to deal with the same bond issue Charlotte would be facing.

    "It was just methodical and it took a long time," CEO Thella Bowens said. "Our bond counselors and our bond advisers really worked with the bond holders."

    Rucho expects to have the bond information next week.

    It's still unclear whether the authority would create its own police force, contract with CMPD, or do something else.

    Still, the bill's sponsor in the House said there's no need to slow down.

    "These are issues that don't require a 90-day study," Rep. Bill Brawley said, "that requires this to be delayed until the 2015 session."

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