MidAmerica Airport found itself in the national spotlight again recently and not in a good way. NBCs Nightly News exposed our “money pit” in an offering titled, “MidAmerica Airport: The Ghost Airport Costing Taxpayers Millions.” As the old adage goes, there is no such thing as bad publicity. Don’t believe it!
Nothing much new was uncovered, especially in the way of a get-well plan. The reporter captured an on-camera interview with County Board Chairman Mark Kern. They must have bushwhacked him in a courthouse hallway as he didn’t appear ready for prime time. Questioned on the airport’s perennial monetary losses, Kern declared that the airport’s goal was “to break even” and they were “moving in that direction.”
Locally we’ve become desensitized to the problem. How does John Doe, watching TV from his easy chair in New Jersey or West Virginia, relate to our fiscal dilemma? It’s his problem too, since a portion of his airline ticket fees go for airport improvements, regardless of whether they’re viable or not.
Kern sang the same old song, “Without MidAmerica Airport, Scott Air Force Base would not be here.”
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The reporter quickly injected that the Air Force says, “MidAmerica Airport is not a factor in keeping Scott open.” The weight of this statement is reduced only by the lack of being attributed to anyone in authority.
Like the lyrics from the ‘60s Sonny and Cher tune, “The beat goes on, the beat goes on…
…Hey buddy, have you got a dime?”
Bill Malec, O’Fallon