The drive to turn Charlotte Douglas International Airport over to a regional governing authority has shifted out of the fast lane.
The measure passed the state Senate in a matter of weeks, but House sponsor Bill Brawley promised a panel of lawmakers Tuesday that he would not bring the bill up for debate by the full house until the city of Charlotte has time to "publish and defend" a study on the issue.
May 1 is the deadline the city has given its New York consultant to deliver a report on the reasons for the push to create a regional authority and how the change would affect the airport. The city is spending $150,000 on the study.
Representative Brawley doubts the report will be objective, since city officials are openly opposed to losing control of the airport. However, he acknowledges the need to go slow in light of conflicting advice from airport finance experts.
"None of them have said either, 'Yes you can do it and this is how' or, 'No you can't do it and this is why,'" notes Brawley. "They say 'Be careful.' That's part of the reason we're starting our discussion. I have told our friends in the Senate that we are the more deliberative body and we will examine this to the full extent that we need to do."
Brawley presented the airport authority measure to the House Transportation Committee Tuesday afternoon for discussion, but no vote was taken.