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Posted: 10:21 p.m. Saturday, April 20, 2013
By Tina Terry
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
Members of the public got a chance to tell state and city lawmakers what they think about a plan to give control of Charlotte's airport to a regional authority. One man said he came to tonight's meeting with an open mind. He wanted to understand the advantages of creating an airport authority, but says he left without an answer. Charlotte City Council members, the public, even North Carolina lawmakers sat down in the same room to hash out the pros and cons of an airport authority.
CLICK HERE to weigh in on the airport study. Clark Neilson, who's lived here for 30 years, came with no opinion. "I wanted to know if the regional authority was a better idea for Charlotte or if continued management by the city would be a good idea," Neilson said. In the midst of the debate, he said he decided the airport is better off left in the hands of the city. "I really feel like the city has done a great job," he said. Neilson said supporters of a regional airport authority have failed to show why it's necessary. That's been something Rep. Kelly Alexander has been saying since the bill to create the authority was introduced in the Senate in February. The bill was quickly approved by the chamber a few weeks later. "Why make a change now? What's the compelling reason? And you haven't heard that yet, no not from anybody. Not from the proponents of the bill," Alexander said. In the past, supporters of the bill have said it could help keep costs low for airlines and give regional representation to an airport that is growing beyond just Charlotte. Rep. Ruth Samuelson said this is the right time to step out and study whether an airport authority is right for Charlotte. "We have the opportunity to get everything on the best track to succeed in the future with a new airline, new manager and new ways of doing business," Samuelson said. The city is studying the affects of this plan. Alexander says if that report shows there are no benefits, the bill should die. The report is expected to wrap up at the beginning of May.
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