New legislation seeks to create partnership between airport and state leaders

Posted at 5:56 AM, Mar 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-13 07:54:47-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — New legislation looks to readjust who's calling the shots at Nashville's growing airport. Some lawmakers believe it would create a better partnership with state leaders.

It targets the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority, which is made up of Mayor John Cooper and commissioners appointed by him. The new bill wants to replace those commissioners with ones appointed by the governor or state lawmakers. Appointees would come from three members of the house, three from the Senate, three from the Governor and one from the Mayor.

The Airport Authority currently has two principal functions. The first is planning, construction, operation and management of BNA and John C. Tune Airport. The second is to assure promotion, encouragement and development of commerce and industry through air transportation. They work closely with business and community leaders and local, state and federal government in all areas.

Although, some lawmakers are against the change. They said similar legislation has tried to pass in other states and has gotten nowhere.

"Is there a reason for this hostile takeover of Metropolitan airport?" said Rep. Bill Beck from Nashville.

"I don't consider this whatsoever any sort of hostile takeover of any authority that Tennesseans across the state provide funding to. When the city the airport is located in provides zero money," said Rep. Johnny Garrett from Goodlettsville. "Over the past decade, this General Assembly and taxpayers across the state of Tennessee have paid $130 million to the airport and it's paramount that we see, on behalf of district 45 and districts across the state, that we have a partnership with the airport to sustain its longevity. To sustain the goals of the airport."

The bill heads to House and Senate committees for discussion this week.