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Updated: 5:17 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 | Posted: 8:54 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013
By Andrew Doud
RALEIGH, N.C. —
A bill that would create a new Charlotte Airport Authority, taking it out of the city's control, is moving forward.
A Senate panel approved the legislation, rejecting a pitch from Charlotte's mayor just hours before to slow down the process. Eyewitness News traveled to Raleigh and spoke with both sides about the controversial bill. On one hand, you have Sen. Bob Rucho, who said an airport authority should be put in place to ensure continued growth of the airport after its current director retires. But it would take away the city's control over the airport, and Mayor Foxx said Wednesday that too many questions need to be answered before that happened. "The average citizen doesn't know how much raw power the legislature has. They literally could make this change overnight," said Foxx. Foxx stood with councilman Andy Dulin and Police Chief Rodney Monroe before members of the Mecklenburg County delegation in Raleigh Wednesday morning. Foxx asked those lawmakers for time to study what could happen if control of the airport was shifted from the city to an airport authority. Some lawmakers agreed there was no rush. "I think you got to know the problem you're trying to fix and you know where you'll land before you jump," said Rep. Charles Jeter of District 92. Others said questions about security, future projects and the airport's economic contributions to the city could be answered quickly, without a study. "I tend to think most of what he brought us is probably resolvable. We just need to look at those questions and make sure we can resolve them," said Rep. Ruth Samuelson of District 104. We spoke to one of the bill's primary sponsors, Bob Rucho.
He said Foxx isn't trying to slow the process; he's trying to derail it. Lawmakers on a Senate rules committee voted to move the bill forward. Eyewitness News has reached out to Foxx to see what happens now in the study – hoping to hear from him soon. Meanwhile, Charlotte's airport director, Jerry Orr, received an award on Wednesday from Charlotte's Counselors on Real Estate recognizing him for the airport's intermodal facility.
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