State Airport Takeover Clears Runway In Senate

Mar 7, 2019

The Georgia Senate has approved a measure that would move control of the world's busiest airport from the city of Atlanta to the state. 

SB 131, passed 34-22, would create the "Georgia Major Airport Authority" that would comprise elected officials and others appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor and House speaker. 

Sen. Burt Jones (R-Jackson) is the bill's sponsor. Holding up a stack of articles from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jones said the bill was a "tough conversation" that needed to address issues he called a blight on the state's reputation. Jones also mentioned Wednesday news that a former contractor for the city of Atlanta is facing 51 charges related to an ongoing bribery probe at Atlanta City Hall. 

But Sen. Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta) said the bill would harm the state's economy and businesses like Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines don't like the bill. 

"Why would you ignore one of the largest employers in the state of Georgia?" Orrock asked. "Why would you think it's wise to run roughshod over Delta Air Lines who has made every effort to bring the information to you that this is not good for Georgia, it's not good for business, it's not good for the airport?"

Perhaps the biggest opponent to the bill is Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who told GPB's "Lawmakers" it was "an act of war" and that any problems with the airport happened long before her time.