U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin has been stumping for St. Clair County to be the new home to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and its 3,150 jobs.
It’s about time the local guy stepped up for the home team.
Being the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate should count for something other than being the ultra-lib voice on Sunday morning news shows. It didn’t seem to help much when the new generation of air refueling tankers went to Wichita instead of Scott Air Force Base.
So now we stand to gain all those jobs and an 800,000-square-foot, $1.6 billion facility called NGA West where mapping and intelligence are gathered to supply our troops with the information they need to stay safe and target our enemies. Putting it next to a major military base with a neighboring civilian airport, on 200 open acres that St. Clair County leaders on Monday positioned us to donate, with an interstate and plenty of local interchanges available to those 3,150 workers — well it just makes sense.
But sense may have nothing to do with replacing the century-old St. Louis NGA facility. It will likely come down to politics and a fight between Durbin and U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill pushing three sites in Missouri.
We’re in favor of sweetening the deal with free land. In fact, we’d support even more sugar: Give MidAmerica Airport to the Department of Defense in exchange for the Federal Aviation Administration loosening those bond terms that are beating down local taxpayers.
Win-win-win, as long as Durbin keeps his eye on the ball.