"Proceed cautiously" is the North Carolina treasurer's advice to lawmakers trying to place control of the Charlotte airport in the hands of a regional authority.
State Senator Bob Rucho (R-Matthews) is sponsoring the measure and sought the treasurer's input after both sides of the debate produced conflicting legal opinions. The state treasurer hired a New York law firm with expertise in public finance to review what the airport authority measure might mean for the airport's $800 million in outstanding bonds. The resulting 9-page opinion concludes the effect is uncertain because North Carolina courts have not addressed many of the legal issues the bill may raise.
Deputy State Treasurer Vance Holloman warns those issues could give rise to "prolonged litigation" if the measure passes. That echoes the sentiment of Charlotte city officials including finance director Greg Gaskins.
"That's a big thing – that's what we've been concerned all along - not rushing to judgment before we know the answers to these questions, given the importance of this," says Gaskins.
The airport authority measure passed the state Senate quickly, and now awaits consideration by the House.
Read the opinion of Charlotte City's bond counsel here.
Read the opinion commissioned by airport authority supporters here.