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Mayor Ponders Privatizing Airport to Shoulder Cost of Urban Rail

Passengers traveling through ABIA will encounter "enhanced" pat-downs and longer security lines this holiday season.

Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell says he’s considering a plan to lease out the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to help pay for future urban rail projects.

The list of airports that have successfully gone private is a short one.

While airports in Chicago and Puerto Rico have made the move, six others, including the one serving New Orleans, abandoned the privatization idea along the way.

Jay Carpenter of the Texas Aviation Association says the Federal Aviation Administration takes the issue extremely seriously.

“They’re going to watch this project very, very, very closely, and if there’s one little T that hasn’t been crossed, or I that hasn’t be dotted, they’re going to come down pretty hard,” Carpenter said.

The city of Austin considered a similar move in 2007, but the idea was short-lived.

I'm a freelance writer for the Austin American Statesman and others.
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