County Considering Options on Airport Privatization
Airport consultant study expected within the next 30 days.
Gwinnett County Transportation Director Brian Allen said the county has not yet determined whether to issue a new request for qualifications (RFQ) from firms interested in submitting proposals to privatize Briscoe Field.
In 2010, three firms -- American Airports Corporation, Gwinnett Airport, LLC and Propeller Investments -- responded to the county's RFQ. The issuance of a request for proposal (RFP) would be the next step in the process of privatizing the airport.
At his June 11 constituent meeting in Dacula, District 3 Commissioner Mike Beaudreau said his position is that the RFP process should be open to companies other than just those who replied to the county’s RFQ (Request for Qualifications).
“We’ll see what offers we get and then we can talk about fact versus fiction,” Beaudreau said during the meeting.
Allen said legally the county has the right to reject all RFQs and re-advertise. Allen added the county was currently working with the FAA and the county airport consultant to determine what effect that would have on the county’s participation in the FAA Airport Privatization Pilot Program.
“And that’s what we’re not sure of at this time,” he said.
On May 3, the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 to direct staff to move forward with the process of issuing RFPs related to the airport privatization process.
Prior to the vote, District 4 Commissioner John Heard proposed a resolution to remove commercial service from consideration at the Lawrenceville airport. However, Beaudreau proposed a substitute motion to direct staff to issue a request for proposals (RFPs) for privatization that could include commercialization.
In April, hundreds of Gwinnett County citizens attended a public forum regarding the airport in which the majority of those in attendance expressed opposition to commercialization. Others in attendance, including members of the group Fly Gwinnett Forward, expressed support for commercialization in the form of scheduled service at Briscoe Field.
For now, both sides, as well as the three companies that participated in the initial RFQ process, must wait to see what the county decides to do once the consultant study is completed.
"The county should do what's in the best interest of the citizens," said Propeller Investments managing director Brett Smith. "We look forward to progress."
Allen said the consultant study should be complete within the next 30 days.