Comptroller Darlene Green opposes the City of St. Louis moving towards privatizing operations of St. Louis Lambert International Airport because she has “no confidence that this process will yield an outcome supportive of public interest.”
The matter at hand is issuing a request for qualifications (RFQ) for a possible private operator of the airport, as the city’s Airport Advisory Working Group voted to do on Friday, October 4.
“The process exploring privatization of has been designed by and for special interests,” Green said in a statement. "Unsurprisingly, this RFQ is shaped by assumptions to appease those interests.”
Green emphasized that Mayor Lyda Krewson, Aldermanic President Lewis Reed and the Airport Advisory Working Group have not committed to holding a binding public vote on privatization of the airport as part of the approval process.
“As elected officials, our obligation is to the people who elected us, not to any outside special interest,” Green stated. “Requiring a binding public vote on any selected proposal would go a long way in alleviating the public’s concerns about special interests.”
The airport’s credit rating upgrades over the past two years and record 46 straight months of passenger growth in fiscal year 2019 are signs that STL is performing exceptionally under public management.
Green said that Krewson, Reed and the city’s advisors on the project are selling the public short in denying them a vote regarding one of the financially struggling city’s few viable public assets.
Green stated, “The citizens of St. Louis are smart enough and informed enough to make important decisions about one of St. Louis’ major assets.”