NBC, CBS, USA Today and others have written much about MidAmerica St. Louis Airport over the years. Stories continue about our “ghost airport” and fleecing taxpayers.
Yet, St. Clair County board chair Mark Kern and airport director Tim Cantwell persist in promising a bright future.
Cantwell told one reporter, “the commercial value is going to be so great here in the next 10-15 years!” He did not talk about the last 15 years, when the county spent nearly $100 million just to keep the place open.
That’s real money, almost one-fourth of what we pay the county in property taxes.
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The county audit calls the MidAmerica “business-like” activity to distinguish it from “governmental” activities. Truth be told, it’s a “failing business,” costing $10 to generate just $1. With that record, no private business could last.
But, there is a solution, and it’s in the hands of the St. Clair County Board:
1) Give the ramps, aprons and aeronautical equipment to Scott and quit subsidizing the United States Air Force.
2) Respond to those interested in the terminal building for commercial use, and stop trying to operate an airport.
3) Develop more of the business park on the thousands of acres the county acquired from farmers back in the 1990s.
For this to happen, St. Clair County board members will have to stand up, represent our interests, and stop the bleeding. No one else will do that. Let them establish a “bailout commission” now.
Richard P. Ellerbrake, Lebanon