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Modest Turnout for Airport Protest at BOC Meeting

Few citizens wait out three-hour commission meeting to express concerns

A  at Tuesday night’s Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners meeting drew fewer attendees than previous events.

Several members of Citizens for a Better Gwinnett (C4BG) attended the Feb. 22 meeting to express concerns regarding the future of the Lawrenceville airport, but many left before the three-hour meeting drew to a close.

Jim Regan, one of the C4BG members who waited out the lengthy agenda for a chance to speak during the public comment period, said he was not opposed to privatization, but had other concerns.

“We want passenger service taken off the table,” Regan said.

While the county has yet to issue a request for proposals (RFP) for any airport related projects, a request for qualifications (RFQ) was issued for firms interested in submitting proposals to privatize the airport.

The county received responses from Propeller Airports Briscoe Field, Inc., American Airports Corporation, and Gwinnett Airport, LLC.

Regan asked the county restrict RFPs to companies with at least a five-year history of profitability, a criteria he said not all of the companies which responded to the RFQ had met.

Acting Chair and District 1 Commissioner Shirley Lasseter assured those in attendance the commission would take no action regarding Briscoe Field until a new chairman was elected. The special election to fill the unexpired term of former commission chairman Charles Bannister is scheduled for March 15.

According to the county website, the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners is exploring the possibility of privatizing the airport because of “the potential economic benefits.”

Lasseter and other commission members emphasized that no proposals have been made so far.

More information about the potential privatization of Briscoe Field is available on the county Web site.

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