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City approves study on impact of switch in Charlotte airport control

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TWC News: City approves study on impact of switch in Charlotte airport control
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CHARLOTTE— The Charlotte City Council agreed Monday night to spend up to $150,000 on a study of Charlotte/Douglas International Airport.

The study is designed to determine what impact a proposed change from city control could have in the future. The study comes as some state lawmakers move forward on a bill to transfer airport operations from the City of Charlotte to an regional airport authority.

The City Council hopes this study helps to put a hold on the proposed legislation as a possible vote on the Airport Authority looms this Wednesday in the State Senate. The study is expected to cost between $30,000 and $150,000 from the general fund.

The independent study is expected to be completed by Memorial Day and will determine what's driving the proposed change in Charlotte's airport oversight. It will also outline the potential unintended consequences of a switch; including how an independent airport authority could handle already issued bonds, security and property management.

A bonding agency told city leaders they do not know the impact an authority switch could have on more than $800 million in bonds already issued for the airport.

The city hopes the study can potentially buy more time before the airport authority bill comes up for a vote in the State Senate or State House.

City Council member Andy Dulin plans to head to Raleigh Tuesday to ask state lawmakers to delay any further votes on the airport until the study is complete. Most airports in the state, including Raleigh-Durham and Asheville, are operated by airport authorities.

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