Coming fresh off a “Meet the Press” stop, an appearance laden with barbs at Republican Mitt Romney for his career in private equity, it was revealed that Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed appeared to have no personal problems with the governing capacity of Bain executives. Reed, who hired two top Bain execs, days after his 2009 election, to help steer the government of Atlanta, found himself in a political trap built of his own accord.
Today, his week just got worse, as Politifact Georgia has given him a “Pants on Fire” rating regarding the Atlanta Mayor’s statements about the new international terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson airport.
After almost a decade laden with setbacks, the terminal opened on May 16th of this year. At the opening ceremony, airport surrogates, and Mayor Reed himself, stated that the terminal was opening “on time and on budget”. Politifact’s piece points out that initial estimates “pegged the cost at $719 million” in 2000. However, six years later “auditors concluded that at an estimated cost of $1 billion, the international terminal’s price tag was spiraling out of control”, and, by 2007, “the expected price was as high as $1.5 billion, even though it would be 400,000 square feet smaller than planned”. The final budget, following Reed’s election, was set at $1.4 billion, a far cry from the initial $700 million.
As for timing, the terminal was initially expected to open in 2006. Come 2005, “ airport officials said that costs were rising for the new terminal, and its opening would be delayed until 2009″. That was delayed another year as the terminal team was fired, and “by 2009, planners projected an early 2012 opening”.
Dependent on your definition of “early 2012″, May 16th could potentially fit at least one parameter. Politifact closes by pointing out “that the delays did not take place under Reed’s watch”, but that he is “accountable for the highly inaccurate claim” of the supposed ”on time and on budget” opening of the terminal.