BOC to consider pre-application forms to privatize county airport

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Gwinnett's pre-application for a federal program allowing the privatization of the county airport is nearly complete.

Commissioners today will consider giving Chairman Charles Bannister the authority to sign the forms -- expected to be complete in the next week or so -- to reserve one of two final spots for the Federal Aviation Agency's program, which would forgive about $30 million in federal grants if the county moves forward.

Leaders gave the go-ahead to begin the process in January, promising an extensive public hearing process if the pre-application is approved.

Gwinnett Transportation Director Brian Allen said the county could get the thumbs up from the FAA within about 30 days of submitting the forms. At that point, officials will seek proposals from companies interested in buying or leasing Briscoe Field.

At least one company, New York-based Propeller Investments, has expressed an interest. Propeller has created a Web site whyprivatizebriscoe.com to highlight its proposal, which would include offering commercial flights to regional airports such as Dallas, Las Vegas, Boston and more.

Leaders said a county study would include possibilities of continuing the airport operations as is, pursuing privatization but remaining a general aviation airport and pursuing privatization with commercial offerings.