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The Gist: A bill filed in the Georgia state senate would create the Georgia Major Airport Authority to manage the “construction, equipment, improvement, maintenance and operation of major airports” in Georgia. If you can’t tell by the name of the authority, this bill is squarely aimed at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Who currently manages Hartsfield-Jackson: The airport is managed by the City of Atlanta, but has come under fire in recent years over vendor contracts and hiring practices.
What changes does the proposed bill make?: Senate Bill 131 places a state board over the airport, essentially giving the state control over the airport instead of the city of Atlanta.
The board would consist of the governor or his designee, the lieutenant governor or his designee, the speaker of the house or his designee, the commissioner of transportation, the commissioner of public safety and four people with who according to the bill would have “extensive experience in business, aviation, law, or accounting.” Two of those four would be appointed by the Speaker of the House and two would be appointed by the President of the Senate.
Who proposed the bill: The primary sponsor of the bill is Burt Jones of Senate District 25, which covers portions of Morgan, Greene, Putnam, Jones, Baldwin, Butts and Walton counties. Co-sponsors include Brandon Beach, Jeff Mullis, Tyler Harper, Matt Brass and Mike Dugan.
Who is opposed to the bill: So far, the city of Atlanta, Delta, Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda, the NAACP and the Urban League of Greater Atlanta have come out against the bill.
In a letter sent to the Georgia State Senate, the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda, NAACP and Urban Leave of Greater Atlanta called the bill “counter-productive” and said it was “more about politics than performance.”
Current Status: The bill was proposed Feb. 19 and has been referred to committee.
Your Take: What do you think? Is Hartsfield-Jackson fine the way it is, or do you think it would benefit from a state authority overseeing its operation? State your case in the comments section below.