Photo by Corinne Nicholson
LAWRENCEVILLE -- A state policy institute sees merit in the controversial proposal to allow commercial flights at the Gwinnett County Airport.
"In Briscoe Field, Gwinnett County faces a promising opportunity and the potential to become home to a secondary commercial airport, an origination-to-destination airport," Benita Dodd, a vice president of the Georgia Public Policy Institute wrote in an essay.
Dodd's essay talked about the perils of the Federal Aviation Administration privatization program that has yet to yield a successful transition, but she said the Lawrenceville's Briscoe Field may be the best opportunity yet.
She even contradicts a recent study, commissioned by Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, that said no local airport, including Briscoe, could become a suitable reliever to the world's busiest airport.
"Given that Briscoe's proposed 10-gate commercial service would relieve Hartsfield-Jackson, not replace it, and serve aircraft no larger than 737s, the study's assumptions -- including a 9,000-foot runway-- appear to be costly overkill," Dodd wrote, pointing out that the study also said no homes would be affected by noise from the new flights.
The essay was good news to Fly Gwinnett Forward, a group that has organized to push for the potential economic benefit, despite the nay-sayers.
"Fly Gwinnett Forward will encourage regional leadership and county elected officials to move forward immediately with a request for proposals," a press release from the group said. "This is the next step in exploring a unique opportunity to jump-start our economy, reduce the cost of government and bring capital improvement to one of Gwinnett's most valuable assets, Briscoe Field."
Three months after commissioners voted to move forward on privatization with commercial flights as an option, officials had expected to receive a report this week from a consultant about how to move forward with proposals.
The report was not available Friday.