For the first time since the battle over an airport authority began, the head of Charlotte Douglas International Airport took Eyewitness News on a tour of the other facility at the center of the fight: the intermodal facility.
Aviation Director Jerry Orr explained the economic importance of the $90 million facility, which Norfolk Southern is building with the help of federal and state assistance.
"This will have a huge impact on business in Charlotte over time because it makes us a very convenient and a very economical place to ship containers to and from," he said.
Orr said Charlotte is the perfect place to put such a big transportation and distribution hub because of its location on I-77 and I-85 and its rail connections to ports like Charleston.
"This is a very big deal economically," he said.
The facility allows the trains and trucks to pull in, exchange their freight, and get back on the rails or the interstates quickly.
Some experts say it will help local businesses.
"People who are in manufacturing and business -- they will have increasingly better service over time," said Dr. Edd Hauser, director of UNC Charlotte's Center for Transportation Policy Studies.
But the facility is also expected to attract new businesses and create about 7,000 jobs in the Charlotte area by 2030.
Orr says some jobs could come from private developers building manufacturing facilities west of Charlotte Douglas to take advantage of the transportation hub.
He also envisions the airport teaming with UNC Charlotte and CPCC to build office space and a business incubator, what he calls a Charlotte World Trade Center, on a site north of the airport.
Some lawmakers say the development is another big reason a regional authority should take over control of the airport.
"The surrounding counties then have a stake in supporting the airport and helping it acquire the resources that it needs," Rep. Bill Brawley said.
Orr said an authority would allow it to interact more like a business with its partners, including Norfolk Southern.
"The airport is becoming more and more its own business center here," he said.
Orr said traffic will also improve because trucks won't have to cross town to the current, smaller intermodal site in North Charlotte.
The intermodal facility is expected to be done by late spring of 2014.