State lawmakers say they will now move forward with a bill designed to take control of Charlotte Douglas Airport from the city and give it to a regional authority.
Members of the House had agreed to wait until a $150,000 study on airport governance commissioned by the city was complete.
A draft of the final version was released Thursday supporting an authority as the best form of governance for Charlotte Douglas in the future.
Friday afternoon, the consultant behind the study, Bob Hazel of Oliver Wyman, said he was surprised at the beginning of his research to learn that there was pending legislation on an airport authority at Charlotte Douglas, because the airport is well-known for its high levels of performance.
Mayor Anthony Foxx didn't mince words when talking about the study. He said it shows the bill could use some big changes.
"It's not going to get us to a better place with our airport, and in fact, it could do some damage," Foxx said.
The study suggests giving the city of Charlotte a larger number of appointments to an authority board, which Foxx said is critical, since the current bill suggests only two appointments out of 13.
It also suggests a smaller board -- at most, 11 -- would be most effective.
Foxx said he wants to form a special task force for further study.
"It's trying to invite conversation because that hasn't happened in the community yet," he said. "I've said all along that I'm pretty agnostic on the ultimate question of whether we should or shouldn't, but what I do object to is having an authority crammed down the throats of our citizens."
But Rep. Bill Brawley, R-Mecklenburg, wants less talk and more action.
"Every time we talk to the mayor, it's delay or no," he said.
He said he and Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, will review the bill and take into consideration some of the study's suggestions.
He said an amended version could reach the House's transportation committee as early as May 8.
Rucho said that includes looking at Charlotte's appointments.
"We can consider that," he said. "That's a reasonable request, and we will."
Brawley says there's also a benefit to a regional authority in the governor's new transportation plan. He said new details will be released next week but explained it would include access to a lot of state funding that could be used for airport projects.
"You're saying switching to an authority opens up the airport to state funding?" Eyewitness News asked.
"It does," he said.
Hazel is scheduled to present the study to the city's airport study oversight committee on Monday afternoon. He also expects to meet with state lawmakers, though it is unclear when.