Twenty years has taken a toll on St. Clair County’s favorite money pit. Subsidizing all those flights out of MidAmerica St. Louis Airport has clogged the parking lot, the front doors have worn out and the public address system is kaput from announcing all those flights.
The county’s Public Building Commission, that rag-tag group of appointees who don’t answer to voters or have any special expertise in running an airport, agreed to add 277 new parking spaces at the airport at a cost not to exceed $588,076. That’s $2,123 per space. Are we telling immigrants to come to MidAmerica, where the parking spaces are paved with gold?
More free parking is needed because they’ve subsidized enough Allegiant flights to Florida and Vegas to crowd the lot with passenger vehicles.
Now commissioners agreed to spend $835,000 to replace the main entry door, modernize the public address system, update interior and exterior lighting and improve passenger loading bridge safety. We are assured that these expenditures will not cost us much because a Federal Aviation Administration grant covers 90 percent of the cost and the county must only kick in 10 percent, or $83,500.
Interesting that local government still treats federal dollars like free money. Where do they think the federal money comes from? Hint: There’s a stark reminder of that answer every April 15.
MidAmerica was a benefit to Scott Air Force Base during the base closure hearings two decades and then again a decade ago. But here we are, spending $12 million a year in a county that allows so much else to go wanting as we prop up a losing business model.
As they celebrate MidAmerica’s 20th anniversary, we’re sure they will slather on a lot of icing. It takes a lot of sugar and fat to cover the taste of this hot mess.