P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 23, 2001
AUSTIN - State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, yesterday filed three pieces of legislation to improve cooperation between the Dallas Fort Worth Airport and its neighbors and to give neighboring communities a voice in land use and development issues as DFW continues to expand.
"The success of DFW is just as important to Grapevine, Coppell, Irving and Euless as it is to Dallas and Fort Worth. DFW was built on regional cooperation, and I think the airport can only benefit from the input of its neighbors," Senator Nelson said. "People need to start realizing that many, if not most, of the people who live in our Metroplex live in small to mid-size cities. These residents are woefully unrepresented when it comes to our airport. The board needs to be more reflective of the community the airport serves."
- Senate Bill 881: Requires the airport to submit by Dec. 31, 2001 to TxDOT a report that identifies land-use plans over the next five years and to divest itself of ownership of all property not designated for essential airport services.
- Senate Bill 882: Restructures the DFW Airport joint board to include one member representing cities adjacent to the airport. The seat will rotate between cities.
- Senate Bill 883: Requires the airport board to obtain the approval of a municipality before attempting to condemn property within that city's jurisdiction.
Senator Nelson filed the bills in part as a response to Senate Bill 569, filed by Senator David Cain of Dallas to force Grapevine and Coppell into tax-sharing agreements with the airport on land that the cities donated on the condition that it would remain on their respective tax rolls. "It is inappropriate for the Texas Legislature to unilaterally impose the will of Dallas and Fort Worth on other cities, especially because this action would erase a contractual obligation," Senator Nelson said.
Responding to criticism that the bill is anti-development, Senator Nelson replied, "I find it interesting that DFW's spokesman basically stated that the airport is trying to enter the economic development business, which is exactly what I'm trying to prevent. How can other cities compete with property-tax free status? What if DFW tried to lure Fidelity out of Westlake ... or lure Eddie Bauer to compete with Bass Pro? It's an unfair advantage, and it only benefits Dallas and Fort Worth. And what about lost revenue to school districts and cities? If big corporations are allowed to build at DFW, no school districts get any benefit. DFW has plenty of room to land planes and to expand. This bill gives them 10 years to tinker with a land-use plan that does not remove money from school children or adversely affect taxpayers."