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.