Airport takeover is unjustified, dangerous

Mar. 15, 2013 @ 06:27 AM

It  may be a cliché, but it remains good advice: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

With Republicans in control of the state Legislature, one would think that such an aphorism would not bear repeating.

But it does as this week’s vote by the state Senate to seize control of Charlotte Douglas Airport from the city of Charotte demonstrates.

We have yet to hear a single good reason why oversight of the airport should be transferred from the city and turned over to an as-yet unnamed regional authority populated by public officials from all the counties surrounding Charlotte.

The city has controlled the airport since 1930 and has built it into the eighth-busiest airport in the nation with the largest hub for U.S. Airways with more than 640 daily flights to nearly 140 destinations around the country and in Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, Mexico and Latin America.

State Senator Tommy Tucker, R-Union, voted with the majority — all of the Republicans — in the 33-16 ballot to take over the airport. He explained his vote to us saying that airport director Jerry Orr now reports only to an assistant city manager. He thought it would be better if he answered to a regional board.

We still believe that less government is better government, that a dollar spent closer to home will be more wisely spent and that more bureaucracy almost inevitiably results in inefficiency, confusion and poor management.

Even Gov. Pat McCrory is urging the senators to go slowly. He should have a pretty good idea of what — if any — problems the airport has and what measures might be best to solve them.

The city is in the middle of a governance study, is there some reason the senators can’t wait to see what it recommends before jumping in to take over the airport?

Better yet, until senators can show us how the airport is broken, let’s just not try to fix it.