Editorials

Everybody deserves a prize, so why not MidAmerica Airport?

MidAmerica Airport by the numbers

Running an airport takes a lot of money. Here are some of the costs and stats associated with MidAmerica St. Louis Airport.
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Running an airport takes a lot of money. Here are some of the costs and stats associated with MidAmerica St. Louis Airport.

MidAmerica St. Louis Airport opened 22 years ago. Illinois' Airport of the Year award started about 30 years ago. Guess it was time.

The staff at MidAmerica certainly deserves recognition. Congrats to them. Everyone likes an underdog, and it becomes legendary when a small group is asked to defend against overwhelming forces, you know, like at the Alamo.

But there is no prize for taxpayers. They are continuously asked to sacrifice for the benefit of cheap flights to Florida and pie-in-the-sky dreams of cargo flights to Ningbo, China.

Annual subsidies keep the airport open, $8.29 million in 2016 and a total of $89.4 million since 2002. Audits for the years before 2002 are unavailable, and it will be September before we get the truth about the 2017 taxpayer subsidy. The total is obviously more than $89.4 million.

Then there's the $40 million debt from the airport's construction that the brilliant money managers on the St. Clair County Board refinanced into an $88-million taxpayer obligation that won't be paid until 2045. You're welcome, grandkids.

When you can't find a deputy sheriff, when you wonder about parks and bike trails, when you look at your property tax bill, just remember that you sacrificed to MMAGA — Make MidAmerica Great, Almost.

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