By David Pendered
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle on Wednesday appointed 13 members to a Senate committee that is to recommend by Dec. 1 ways the state could take over management of Atlanta’s city-owned and city-managed airport. Cagle, a Republican candidate for governor, did not appoint a senator from Atlanta.
Atlanta did not request any state assistance to run its airport.
The 13-member committee is comprised of five Democrats and eight Republicans.
Various proposals have been floated for decades for the state to assume control of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. This committee was created by a resolution approved by the Senate to consider, “the transfer of operations of [the airport] to an authority.” The notion is to create a state authority to oversee the airport.
Cagle characterized the intent of the study committee as, “adding value to this tremendous asset.”
Cagle’s comment continues some of the talking points that emerged in this year’s legislative discussion. Rather than characterizing the issue as a potential state take-over of a city-owned asset, lawmakers described their goal as ensuring the economic viability of a state gem.
This is Cagle’s characterization, in a statement released Wednesday:
- “Atlanta’s airport has generated over 400,000 jobs and $70 billion in economic impact for our state. Year after year, Hartsfield-Jackson earns the title of busiest airport in the world and sets new records for productivity and connectivity across the globe. I have full confidence that Sen. [Burt] Jones and the members of this committee will work diligently to give our state’s economy every competitive edge by adding value to this tremendous asset.”
Sen. Burt Jones (R-Jackson), who sponsored the legislation that created the committee, said in a statement:
- “Hartsfield-Jackson is a major asset to our state, and it’s been bringing new businesses and jobs to communities across Georgia for decades. But to maximize this asset’s potential, it’s vitally important we continue evaluating the state’s involvement and role in the airport’s operations. I commend Lt. Gov. Cagle for his strong leadership in guiding our state’s economy to achieve record job growth, and I’m optimistic this committee’s work will only strengthen that momentum going forward.”
This is the relevant language in Senate Resolution 882:
- “WHEREAS, in the interest of pubic welfare, national security, and economic stability, the transfer of operations of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to an authority might best serve and protect the citizens of the State of Georgia; and
- “WHEREAS, study is needed to determine what federal laws and regulations must be complied with in order to accomplish a transfer of the airport to an authority and what obligations must be considered in making such a decision.”
Cagle appointed the following senators to the Senate Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Operations and Authority Creation Study Committee:
- Chairman: Burt Jones;
- Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta);
- Gloria Butler (D-Stone Mountain);
- Mike Dugan (R-Carrollton);
- Ed Harbison (D-Columbus);
- Tyler Harper (R-Ocilla);
- Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega);
- John Kennedy (R-Macon);
- David Lucas (D-Macon);
- Butch Miller (R-Gainesville);
- Jeff Mullis (R-Chicamauga);
- Valencia Seay (D-Riversdale);
- Freddie Powell-Sims (D-Dawson).