I am today demanding that the St. Louis Board of Aldermen and the Board of Estimate & Apportionment authorize a binding public vote on any future recommendation to privatize St. Louis-Lambert International Airport.
While I remain skeptical of any net community benefit that might result from such an agreement, I am deeply troubled by the lack of transparency and the obvious conflicts of interest that have tainted the current airport study process, including the involvement of individuals who retain a direct financial interest in its outcome.
As the St. Louis region’s senior member of Congress, I annually advocate for, and bring home, millions of dollars in federal transportation grants to fund Lambert Airport improvements for runways, terminals, security screening equipment and other vital functions.
The Federal Aviation Administration has stated that there are serious questions regarding whether a private, for-profit entity, put in charge of the airport via a long-term lease, could continue to legally receive federal funding, potentially putting tens of millions of dollars in future federal grants at risk.
St. Louis-Lambert International Airport is the City of St. Louis’ single most valuable and profitable asset. The people who own it, namely the citizens of the City of St. Louis, should have the opportunity to express their will about Lambert’s future, and elected officials should respect that decision.
U.S. Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay (D-Missouri) represents Missouri’s First Congressional District.