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Nashville Mayor Considering Leasing BNA To Fund City Projects, Transit

Posted at 7:17 PM, Jun 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-26 20:33:03-04

Nashville International Airport could be privatized to make money to fund city projects.

To get to the proposal stages would take about a year, according to Michael Cass with Mayor Megan Barry's office.

"If the city decided to pursue the idea, a private company would operate the airport under a long-term lease rather than buying it," said Cass.

Revenues from the lease would almost exclusively go to funding transit, Cass said. However, it is very early on in the process. Mayor Barry has only attended one meeting on the issue and nothing no proposals were tabled.

"If Metro could generate hundreds of millions of dollars in funds to pay for needs such as transit, while maintaining a high quality airport that meets the needs of our growing city, we have a responsibility to the taxpayers of Davidson County to do our due diligence and explore the possibility," said Sean Braisted, another spokesman for the mayor's office.

The idea is based off of a study being done by the City of St. Louis. City government asked for and are conducting a federal study, sanctioned by the FAA, to see whether private ownership of St. Louis Lambert International Airport  is feasible.

BNA and STL are similar in the amount of travelers they serve. In 2016, St. Louis saw 14 million passengers, while Nashville saw 13 million.

The Mayor's office said this is one of the reasons Mayor Barry is watching the results of that study closely.

"But again, it's very early," said Cass.