A major delay in the battle over Charlotte Douglas Airport

Published: Feb. 27, 2013 at 9:38 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 29, 2013 at 8:38 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, NC (WBTV) - The bill to transfer control from Charlotte to a regional authority was on the fast track, but now that bill has run into serious turbulence.

The state Senate was set to approve the bill today until the issue of airport bonds stopped everything.

Charlotte Douglas is more than $800 million in debt, and the city - running things there since 1935 - financed that debt over the course of many years with airport revenue bonds.

Those bonds were issued with conditions, and there is no provision in them for transferring airport assets, which is what's being proposed right now in Raleigh.

State lawmakers looking to erase Charlotte from the airport equation thought the bonds could simply be transferred from the city to whomever takes over.

But because there is no such agreement in place with bond-holders, the city could technically go into default if the airport bill passes.

To make matters worse, WBTV obtained a letter to the city's CFO today that says the city doesn't even know who the bondholders are.

The City may be able to find out, the letter says, at substantial cost and effort, but there is no incentive for bondholders to agree to the state's plan.

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