Editorials

MidAmerica airport spends more money to make more money

MidAmerica Airport director discusses parking fees

MidAmerica Airport Director Tim Cantwell discusses parking fees Monday during the St. Clair County Public Building Commission meeting.
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MidAmerica Airport Director Tim Cantwell discusses parking fees Monday during the St. Clair County Public Building Commission meeting.

There's a great scene in "Moonstruck" in which character Cosmo Castorini is upselling a yuppie couple on his plumbing company's services.

"There are three kinds of pipe. There is what you have, which is garbage and you can see where that's gotten you. Then there's bronze, which is very good unless something goes wrong. And something always goes wrong. And then there's copper, which is the only pipe I use. It costs money. It costs money, because it saves money."

Maybe there are three kinds of airports. MidAmerica St. Louis Airport must be the third kind: It costs money, because it saves money.

We saved money by subsidizing more Allegiant flights. More flights meant we needed more parking. More parking meant we needed to spend $200K on a parking company to manage it. Spending $200K and charging $5 a day has potential to yield $1 million a year, starting right after April Fools Day.

More flights also means we need a bigger terminal, access roads and other airport improvements. A consultant was hired at $400K a year to handle that.

It costs money. Past costs are $89.4 million in direct county subsidies from 2002 through 2016. Future costs until 2045 on $88 million in debt.

It saves money? Fasten your safety belt for the airport improvement costs if they ever get their fantasy cargo operation to Ningbo, China, within the realm of possibility.

We're still waiting for the local plumber, Kern & Co., to show us how we've paid for anything but a giant lavatory for flushing money.



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