Plans for a Second Atlanta Airport On Hold …. Again

This morning’s AJC brings the news that a change in the composition of the Paulding County Commission has led to a 3-2 vote that withdraws support for a plan to expand the county’s Silver County Field. The possibility of using Paulding as a site for an Atlanta reliever airport has been around for a long time, and the latest attempt to provide scheduled airline service to a metro airport not named Hartsfield came after Propeller Investments failed to gain approval for its proposal to privatize Gwinnett County’s Briscoe Field.

While the vote on Tuesday was to withdraw the county’s application to offer scheduled service from consideration by the Federal Aviation Administration, there is some question over whether the County Commission or the Paulding Airport Authority has the authority to take privatization off the table.

From the AJC story:

Peter Steenland, an environmental attorney who represents Paulding residents opposed to the commercialization, hopes the FAA will dismiss the commercial application.

“I don’t think you can go forward if the county does not want to,” Steenland said.

County Commission Chairman David Austin still supports the plan and said pulling out raises the possibility of a lawsuit for breach of contract. He said it also raises questions about how bonds issued to finance preliminary work on the project will be repaid.

“It’s about the future of aviation and the future of Paulding County,” Austin said.

Brett Smith of Propeller Investments, the group that would have operated both the Paulding airport and Briscoe field was disappointed. He blamed Delta Airlines for the setback, accusing Hartsfield Airport’s largest carrier of working to protect the current setup.

4 comments

  1. PropellerGoHome says:

    I am a resident of Paulding County, not from Delta, and I am one among thousands of Paulding residents who oppose commercial air service at Paulding’s little airport and the sneaky way it was slipped in by a small group of manipulative people without involving or even informing the public… not even informing the district commissioner, whose district holds the airport, until AFTER the secret contracts were signed. Propeller Investments came to Paulding after their failure in Briscoe, promising to bring in MRO and manufacturing and they have produced ZERO in two years. They have no available financial information and I can’t find them in FINRA, or listed with the SEC, and the Central Bank of Ireland has stated that Propeller does not have any financial or business registrations there, even though Propeller claims to have a ‘Dublin Office’. Propeller, go home and take Chairman David Austin and Blake Swafford with you. We don’t need your kind of ‘business’ in Paulding County.

  2. androidguybill says:

    “there is some question over whether the County Commission or the Paulding Airport Authority has the authority to take privatization off the table.”

    If signed contracts mean anything, they don’t. However, non-support from the local politicians that are needed to actually implement the airport should be a sign that they should walk away from the deal. The county leaders could do any number of things to hold the project up and make it unfeasible, and certainly unprofitable.

    It is sad because metro Atlanta does need another airport. Unless I am wrong, we are the biggest metro area in the country served by a single airport.

    • newby says:

      I don’t agree about the need for a second airport but I do agree that they need to walk away. As a resident of Paulding County I can tell you that far too much taxpayer money has been spent on this already. Most has gone to lawyers. Time to stop!!! I hope Propeller sees the hand writing on the wall and picks up their marbles.

  3. Charlie says:

    I would encourage anyone that wanted this airport as a major airport to google it on a map. It’s WEST of Dallas. Almost as close to Rockmart. On state highway 278 (which I believe is two lane in that section but I don’t have time to drive out there and verify right now).

    This, if nothing else, should highlight why there is a state and regional role in transportation planning. If this airport were to ever grow to being a true option to Hartsfield-Jackson, it would require hundreds of millions if not a billion or so of road infrastructure improvements to get traffic to it from I-75 and/or I-20.

    It’s not like we don’t already have Billions in project lists that remain unfunded, but then watch this policy by a local government redirect major infrastructure funds which wouldn’t be needed if the eventual 2nd airport were Dobbins or even Briscoe. They’re at least on major traffic corridors that are also on potential project lists.

    We dodged a bullet from a ground transportation funding issue with this apparent ending. Before we start this at the next airport, let’s look at how much the infrastructure to get folks to/from it will be paid for please.

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