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Rep. John Lewis Opposes Airport “Frankenbill”

March 28, 2019
Press Release

The Georgia House is currently considering an amended version of S.B.131, which would have originally permitted the State of Georgia to take away ownership and operation of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport from the City of Atlanta. The amended bill would not take over the airport but instead would create a Major Airport Legislative Oversight Commission to oversee Hartsfield-Jackson, as well as nine other airports in the state.   

“The so-called ‘Frankenbill,’” said Rep. John Lewis, “as amended by the House Rules Committee yesterday, still remains a divisive, problematic piece of legislation.  It will not promote public trust or transparency.  The proposed oversight commission will only add cost, complexity, and more partisan politics to the airport’s operation, as well as to that of the nine other airports across the state covered by this bill.  Hartsfield-Jackson airport has been both the busiest and the most efficiently run airport in the world over a decade.  This commission would create layers of bureaucracy in an effort to repair damage we do not have.  Why are we trying to fix something that is not broken? 

“The real reason for this action is that Hartsfield-Jackson is our state’s most powerful economic asset.  It is the jewel in Atlanta’s crown.  But it is the City who had the vision to take an abandoned race track and build it up until it became an international airport that is the envy of the world, and apparently the envy of the state. We should not do anything to jeopardize management that is already successful.  In fact, we should be finding ways to support the excellent work of the City in this instance.

“It is my hope that the legislature reminds itself of Georgia’s long tradition and constitutional mandate to preserve local control in the final days of this session and that it will not try to include these ill-fated commission or state takeover proposals in any final bill.”

Rep. Lewis has previously spoken out about S.B. 131, which passed the State Senate on March 7.

Last week, members of the Georgia congressional delegation sent a letter to Georgia House leadership opposing a state takeover.