Nashville Airport Bill Amended to Change Nomination Structure

by Jon Styf


A bill set to give the state of Tennessee more power in nominations to the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority (MNAA) was amended and passed Wednesday by the Senate Transportation and Safety Committee.

The seven-member board now includes nominees from the Nashville mayor that were then approved by Metro Nashville’s council. The bill would make an eight-member board with two appointees each from the Tennessee governor, House speaker, Senate speaker and Nashville mayor.

The bill previously would have made the board 10 members with one appointed by the mayor and three from the other leaders.

State Sen. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon, applauded the change to give Nashville more say on the future board.

Kirk Shaffer, former associate administrator for airports for the Federal Aviation Administration, again testified to the committee, saying he believed the move will “cause conflict and substantial issues” that could impact FAA grants for the airport.

Shaffer, who was general counsel for the Metro Nashville Airport Authority for 18 years, oversaw grants at the FAA and said that he had many decisions appealed to federal courts while in that role but none of his decisions were ever overturned.

State Sen. Paul Bailey, R-Sparta, explained a reason for the state wanting more nominating power on the board was that the state was increasing its funding to Nashville and other airports. That funding increase comes as a result of Tennessee putting a cap on the state’s annual aviation gas tax and lowering the overall tax rate in recent years.

That tax cap was created in 2015, cutting FedEx’s tax bill from $32 million to $10.5 million and now cutting the cap to $5 million.

Pody pointed out Metro Nashville authorities were called to the airport 2,400 times between 2020 and 2022 and also work with the airport on traffic, road needs and utilities. So, while Metro Nashville doesn’t directly subsidize the airport, city and county funds are spent at the airport.

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Jon Styf is an award-winning editor and reporter at The Center Square who has worked in Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida and Michigan in local newsrooms over the past 20 years, working for Shaw Media, Hearst and several other companies.
Photo “Nashville International Airport” by Nashville International Airport.



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One Thought to “Nashville Airport Bill Amended to Change Nomination Structure”

  1. Joe Blow

    BNA, the never-ending source of government expenditures. I would just like to see some potholes filled.

    BTW, I am staunchly against “Spend-It-All Lee’s” toll roads. The guy has gone off the deep end and the Assembly is afraid to challenge him. I wonder why.