CHARLOTTE, NC – After months of wrangling, the North Carolina House passed a bill that would snatch Charlotte Douglas International Airport from the City of Charlotte and place it in the power of an independent regional authority.
The bill will become law once the state senate passes it, which appears likely.
“They appear to have only one objective: to take the airport away from Charlotte and the citizens who built it, no matter what the cost,” said Charlotte Mayor Patsy Kinsey.
Kinsey says state lawmakers have political motivations.
“I think it came down to politics. We are a Democratic council, and the House and Senate are Republican.”
Even Republican Councilman Andy Dulin criticized his fellow members of the G.O.P. in Raleigh.
“The way they've behaved themselves is no better than the Democrats we just kicked out in 2010,” he said.
Making the issue more controversial, unpopular amendments to the bill were added shortly before it passed in the House. The city’s advisors at the airport, the “Airport Advisory Committee”, will serve as the temporary members of the authority until permanent members can be put in place. And the authority will now take immediate control of Charlotte Douglas upon passage of the bill, not January 1, 2014, as originally planned.
“To make it effective upon passage of the bill, that leads the league in stupid things to do,” said Dulin.
Republican Rep. Ruth Samuelson of Charlotte, sponsor of the airport authority bill, defended how the state handled the legislation.
"We did our best to bring the city to the table,” she said.
City leaders say they’re ready to file a lawsuit to stop the takeover if the Senate passes the bill.
“Should they pass it, then we're ready to push the button,” said Dulin. “I hate that I'm gonna have to vote to litigate against Republicans members of the House and Senate that I helped get elected,” said Dulin.