City worried about airport takeover

May. 16, 2013 @ 05:19 PM

Monroe Mayor Bobby Kilgore is worried that language in the regional airport commission proposal could open the door for regional control of the Charlotte-Monroe Executive Airport. 

Concord and other counties with airports in the region have expressed similar concerns and asked that the language be changed.

“Certainly we’re concerned,” Kilgore said, though he added that it is not at the top of the rung right now. 

He wrote to a local legislator asking that the Monroe airport be exempt from the bill. 

“I hope they’ll re-word that bill,” Kilgore said. Though, to date he has not heard anything. 

“The way (the bill) reads, (the regional commission) could just walk in and take anybody’s airport,” Kilgore said. “We’re not doing any more than some other cities.” 

Kilgore said, the way the bill has been explained to him, the commission could down the road take control of other regional airports.

The bill, which would create a regional commission to oversee the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, passed through the state senate and is now in the house. The bill would create a 13-member commission from Mecklenburg and the surrounding counties, including Union, to control the airport. The airport is currently under the control of the City of Charlotte. 

In the house, it passed its first reading and is currently in the transportation committee. If favorable it will go to the finance committee. It is local legislation, so will not require the Governor’s signature.

Kilgore said he “absolutely” wants to maintain local control of the airport. 

“We built it. We spent the money. It belongs to the citizens of Monroe,” he said. “It’s a successful airport, it belongs with the citizens and we want it to stay there.” 

Monroe City Council has not taken a formal position on the legislation. However, the Union County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution favoring it.