Thursday, July 19, 2012
© Copyright 2013
Gwinnett Daily Post
LAWRENCEVILLE -- The Gwinnett County Airport is officially out of the Federal Aviation Administration's privatization program.
The move comes over a month after commissioners rejected a proposal to add commercial flights at the small, general aviation field, following a years-long public outcry against the idea.
"I hope it signals as strong as we possibly can that this is off the table," Chairwoman Charlotte Nash said as she released a letter from the FAA acknowledging Gwinnett's decision to be removed from the program.
In May of 2010, Gwinnett received one of five slots for the pilot program, which would have allowed the government to lease or sell Briscoe Field without paying back federal grants.
But earlier this year a review board of citizens recommended the county not only drop the controversial idea of allowing passenger service but also of pursuing a private partnership. Nash thanked the committee Thursday.
"The committee's input and the county transportation staff's hard work helped us reach the right decision for both the airport and our community," Nash said.
The letter, from FAA manager Kevin Willis said the airport is removed "without prejudice," which would allow another submission if the five allotted slots are not full, but Nash said the idea is off the table.
"There's so much suspicion. I know there will still be folks concerned this is a ploy," Nash said. "But we've done what we can on that. Now, it's a matter of letting some time pass and letting some things play out."