Governor Kemp backs state Public Safety Commissioner in potential Super Bowl limo shortage debate

Governor Brian Kemp says he won't get involved in a controversy involving the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee's fears of a limousine shortage during Super Bowl weekend.

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The Governor says he'll let his Public Safety Commissioner handle the dispute.

Senior I-Team reporter Dale Russell, who broke this story, talked to the Governor this morning.

Russell: Are you worried about a possible shortage of limousines?

Governor Kemp: I'll let the Department of Public Safety speak to that. That's their issue the Colonel is handling.

At a Super Bowl meet and greet with veterans and NFL Hall of Famers, Governor Brian Kemp made it clear -- he is not getting involved in the controversy over a possible shortage of limos and rental vans for the Super Bowl.

Russell: You campaigned on cutting regulations for the small business owners these guys say we are small business owners that are being over regulated? 

Governor Kemp Like I told you earlier, we're excited to be here at the VA hospital with the Hall of Famers.

This is the controversy. Four local Atlanta limousine owners told the FOX 5 I-Team that they requested a special event permit for Super Bowl weekend so they can use out of town vehicles and rental cars to handle the crush.

RELATED: Some fear a limousine shortage at the Super Bowl in Atlanta

In the past, they say, that's how they operated for big events.

“The bottom line is, in previous special events and the Olympics and the Super Bowl were allowed to operate. It went super smooth,” says Jeff Greene, president of the Greater Atlanta Limousine Association.

But the head of Georgia Public safety, Colonel Mark McDonough says his concern is the safety of the public and all cars have to be registered in Georgia. That includes, he says, cars and drivers properly license in other states.

“They're basically asking the Colonel of the State Patrol to set aside state law. That's kind of brash,” says Colonel McDonough.

Jeff Greene, president of Greater Atlanta Limousine Association, say his group asked back in August for special permits.  He says they were told then it was not allowed by law, but the department would look into it and get back to them. He says owners didn't hear back until two weeks ago. The answer was no. 

“We're going to have to break major contracts. We're going to have to tell major, major corporate clients we can't handle their VIP travelers, says limo owner Fred Rich.

During the past two weeks, frantic negotiations, phone calls, emails, and meetings went on but Colonel McDonough insisted his concern for public safety of vehicles and drivers not register in Georgia - even though they would be certified and registered in another state. 

Russell: You’re not going to budge? 
Colonel: No.

“This is going to be a huge black eye for Atlanta,” says Carol Cockcroft.

An executive with the Atlanta super Bowl Host committee warned the city in this email that Atlanta could be short 300-400 limousines during Super bowl weekend and they fear "without a solution, this will become a viral news story and a black-eye for the state."

Limo owners begged the Governor to step in.

Governor Kemp showed no signs of getting involved, saying he would let Colonel McDonough handle it.

Russell: Are you going to take any action at all or is it over in your mind?

Governor Kemp:  He's (Colonel McDonough) handling the issue right now based on the law and rules that are in place. I'll let him speak to that.

Limo owners say time is running out.