ATL concessions: Airport chief says city council should not delay vote on proposal
By David Pendered
Atlanta’s chief of the airport says there is no reason the Atlanta City Council should delay adopting a package of concessions contracts worth more than $3 billion, as was suggested Wednesday by Common Cause of Georgia.
“We believe that the city council will have had ample opportunity to study and review the RFP (request for proposals) process and recommendations of award in time for their Jan. 3 vote,” said Louis Miller, the airport’s general manager. “We will continue to make ourselves available to meet with any of the council members and discuss any questions and concerns that they may have.”
Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration delivered its list of recommended companies to oversee the food and drink establishments at the airport, along with some retailers. The process has been underway since January and now is four months behind the schedule Miller announced in March.
The list was delivered to the homes of members of the city’s Transportation Committee the night of Dec. 13. The next day, the committee voted overwhelmingly to endorse the administration’s package and send it to the full council for a vote on Jan. 3.
At the committee meeting, council members Felicia Moore and Michael Julian Bond voiced strong opposition to the speed at which the administration wants to act. They were unable to persuade their colleagues to slow down.
Common Cause of Georgia called on the city council to defer a vote on the airport concession package proposed by Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration. Click here to read more about that suggestion.
Miller responded to Common Cause’s suggestion in a written statement released late Wednesday.
Here is Miller’s entire statement, including a reprinting of the first paragraph:
“We believe that the city council will have had ample opportunity to study and review the RFP (request for proposals) process and recommendations of award in time for their Jan. 3 vote. We will continue to make ourselves available to meet with any of the council members and discuss any questions and concerns that they may have.
“Delaying the award of the concessions contracts would pose significant problems for the city. It would delay the opening of the new $1.4 billion Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal next spring, which is currently on schedule and within budget. For each delayed month in opening the international terminal, the city will lose approximately $3.1 million in terminal rents from the airlines and an additional $2 million per month in lost concessions revenues from our new program.
“As the international terminal was bond funded, delaying the award of the contracts may negatively impact the city’s payment strategy and contractual obligations to bond holders.
“It is also important to note that the airlines implement their busy international travel season in May and the completion of the international terminal is a critical component for them to consider as they develop and implement their summer international schedule.”