An ambitious plan to create a regional airport authority to operate the National and Dulles International airports was approved by the Senate yesterday.
The proposal, which would take control of the airports from the federal government and turn it over to the authority won easy approval from the General Assembly at the urging of its chief lobbyist, former Virginia governor Linwood Holton of McLean. Holton is chairman of the federal commision that recommended the new airport authority.
Approval from the Virginia legislature is only the first in a long series of hurdles the proposal must clear before the airport authority can be established. It faces an uncertain future because of complaints in Maryland that that state has been given too little say in the plan and because Congress, which has had a long-term interest in National Airport, also must approve the plan.
If approved by all the government bodies, the authority would issue about $200 million in bonds to help pay for improvements at Dulles, including a new mid-field terminal, and to improve access to the traffic clogged roads and terminals at National.
The measure, sponsored by House Minority Leader Vincent F. Callahan Jr. (R-Fairfax), is similar to a bill introduced by Sen. Clive L. DuVal II (D-Fairfax), which is before the House.