State Representative Proposes Airport Authority and Meets Opposition

By: Candace Sweat Email
By: Candace Sweat Email

Representative Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda wants to set up an airport authority for the Tallahassee Regional Airport.

Rehwinkel Vasilinda says she would like to see the airport reach its full potential for economic growth, and that an airport authority may help with bringing more flights at a cheaper rate.

But City Commissioner Gil Ziffer says an airport authority would just add another level of bureaucracy and another level of cost.

"We need an airport that is really robust and maximizes its full potential and I think there have been moves to do that, but I also think that there may need to be some other pieces of the solution," said Rehwinkel Vasilinda.

"At the last city retreat, the city designated the airport as a top priority for the year 2011 with regards to potential economic development opportunities," said Mayor John Marks.

Mayor Marks says the city does not control travel rates, and already has an airport advisory committee designed to do the same things Vasilinda says an airport authority might do.

Rehwinkel Vasilinda says she would like to have a town meeting to get community feedback on the proposal.


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  • by Frank Location: Tallahassee on Feb 19, 2011 at 11:50 AM
    What a colossal waste of time and money this would be. Having an Airport Authority is not going to lower ticket prices. Competition between the airlines will do that . HOWEVER, you have to have a enough passengers to support the need for more seats and planes going to the same destinations. At this time Tallahassee doesn't have those numbers Right know there is no competition at Tallahassee Regional because each airline covers destinations that the other airlines do not. Tallahassee is a regional airport because of the volume of business it does. Adding another layer of bureaucrats certainly will not lower ticket prices.
  • by Dennis Location: Providence RI on Feb 17, 2011 at 11:17 AM
    I lived in Tallahassee for several years for graduate school and was shocked to find that not only does the city operate EVERYTHING (airport, utilities, sanitation, etc), but that fares into TLH were prohibitively high. In New England, rarely does a city operate everything, and I can't think of a single airport in NE that is operated by a city. They all are run by state or regional-level transport authorities. This takes the politics out of running the airport (i.e. begging Delta to operate outrageously priced intrastate flights to TLH to give the public the impression that legislators are 'flying commercial') and opens up the market to low-cost alternatives such as AirTran or Southwest. Perhaps if someone other than Mayor Marks and the city council were running the airport, you could fly to Atlanta or Charlotte for less that $500 round trip.
  • by IAA on Feb 17, 2011 at 11:16 AM
    Just another form of socialism
  • by Dr. Who Location: Tally on Feb 17, 2011 at 09:40 AM
    An independent airport authority is exactly what TLH needs. According to the Democrat, 30 other cities in FL have one including PC and Jax, so it's not exactly reinventing the wheel. The airport needs a board whose only priority is the airport. The City Commission has too many other task to give the airport the attention it needs. So I ask, are Commissioners against this b/c of the best interest of the city/airport or for fear of losing some controls? Also the question is how to put qualified members on the authority that are experts in airports/aviation instead of the buddies and relatives of local leaders?
  • by govt waste Location: at it's best on Feb 17, 2011 at 09:22 AM
    Some folks believe we have a thousand flights a day...It's a regional airport, not a hub. Nope, I didn't say international airport like PC. We are small...get it? This panel she is supporting is just another level of govt beaurocracy that lives on the public dime. They will accomplish nothing and get paid for it.
  • by Watchout Location: Tallahasse on Feb 17, 2011 at 07:07 AM
    Maybe Ziffer should ask other cities with regional airport how it is done. Before he starts blocking the move to make the airport better, he should sit back and compare rates of flying in and out of Tallahasee to other competing towns and airports. Gush, even the new airport in Panama-City has cheaper rates than Tallahassee. It is time we try a new approach to the manegement of the Airport and see what difference or otherwise it makes. I support Rehwinkle Vassilinda's idea.
  • by Local Gal Location: Tallahassee on Feb 17, 2011 at 06:53 AM
    I completely support a major change regarding Tallahassee Airport. It is clear many businesses have not located here due to the costly price of flying in and out of our town. And as residents we DO have to drive to Jax or Atlanta to get affordable airfare rates. Ever see Tallahassee Airport pop up on Priceline or the other travel savings websites? If our County Commission is the entity in charge of the goings on at TLH, then it's time to take them out of the loop. We need a MAJOR change of the guard. Anyone who has lived in Tallahassee and the surrounding areas long enough know this is and has been a thorn in the side of those who would LOVE to use our own airport, but can't because it's too expensive. LETS GET TO WORK MICHELLE!! Have sign will protest! :)
  • by Anonymous on Feb 17, 2011 at 05:46 AM
    an airport authority would take the control of the airport away from the city commission. Maybe that is really what we need. their airport advisory board is just that. the advise but the commission does not follow what they recomend. Why do you think the city dont want a utility authority?? they would not be able to control the purse strings, it would take away their power. I think maybe we should set up an airport authority and see how the airport runs without the commission in the middle of it all. In the past when the director of the airport wanted to do things to make it better, the commission would not let them. Lets get the commissioners out of the middle of everything and start letting these departments control their own destination.
  • by Traveler Location: Tallahassee on Feb 17, 2011 at 05:16 AM
    The city needs to turn the whole airport over to an Authority who is concerned ONLY with the Airport. We will never get change with the Mayor and Council running things part time! Whenever I travel, I go from Jax to Atlanta because Tallahassee to Atlanta adds one to two hundred dollars more to every trip! Maybe if the people controlling it were experienced, full time people, things would change!
  • by help Location: big bend on Feb 17, 2011 at 05:15 AM
    maybe gil ziffer should be our state representative his thinking is better.more is not better in goverment.
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