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Georgia Senate Committee Recommends Authority To Govern ATL

A Georgia Senate Study Subcommittee last week recommended the state consider establishing an airport authority to oversee Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL). The 13-member committee was unanimous in its recommendation. The airport is currently governed by the city of Atlanta.

The Georgia Senate says the recommendation would establish a new authority with “a management structure to oversee and hold accountable the business enterprise and operations of ATL.”

Republican State Senator Ben Jones, chair of the subcommittee, says members of the proposed authority would include individuals with varying backgrounds, expertise and experiences, the subcommittee report says, adding the current structure overseeing the Georgia World Congress Center and Georgia Ports Authority would be models for the new entity. Jones says a possible second commercial airport would be among the issues the new authority would consider.

ATL has come under local, state and federal scrutiny for, among other things, bribery involving an Atlanta city official and misuse of airport revenue. However, any move to establish an airport authority or add a second city airport is likely to be opposed by the city, airport officials and primary hub carrier Delta Air Lines, reports say.

Separately, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in mid-Decembrer that the airport concessions contracts that have been on hold for more than a year will be rebid. She told the newspaper that a series of reforms have strengthened the procurement process, and that the previous process was clouded by the ongoing, multi-year corruption investigation.