Editorials

Paving paradise, or a taxing hell?

Allegiant Airlines is running enough flights out of MidAmerica Airport to start making parking an issue, so county leaders are looking at more parking for as much as $575,000.
Allegiant Airlines is running enough flights out of MidAmerica Airport to start making parking an issue, so county leaders are looking at more parking for as much as $575,000. tvizer@bnd.com

MidAmerica Airport is such a “success,” they need a bigger parking lot.

The St. Clair County Public Building Commission is getting ready to add 248 spaces at a potential cost of $575,000. That would be $2,318 for each of the 8 feet by 16 feet asphalt spaces. That is more than $18 a square foot, or about the same as paving a parking lot with granite tiles.

Airport Director Tim Cantwell quickly backed away from the $575,000 cost in the document given commissioners, saying changes were being made that would bring the parking spaces in at a cost much lower than paving with granite or gold. However, the cost of a parking lot at MidAmerica is really beside the point.

“It’s the easy way to fly, so you don’t pay parking, you become an ultra-low cost airport as well,” Cantwell told building commission members.

Low cost for whom?

Cantwell also said that asking Allegiant to help pay for the parking lot is not in the airline’s business model.

Exactly. Because they run a business and they know when an investment is worthy of the return.

St. Clair County’s building commissioners don’t have to worry about profit and loss statements. They can subsidize the airport with $7.5 million a year, they can pay $30,000 for each new airline destination and they can pay $575,000 — or less — for a parking lot. It’s not their money. They don’t answer to a board of directors or the taxpayers footing their bills.

The Public Building Commission members are answerable only to St. Clair County Chairman Mark Kern.

And Kern is answerable to whom?

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