St. Louis China Hub Is "Dubious Proposition" Says Kansas City Star

click to enlarge St. Louis China Hub: The greatest airplane farce since Airplane?
St. Louis China Hub: The greatest airplane farce since Airplane?
The editorial board at the Kansas City Star is the latest critic of a proposal to provide enormous public subsidies for the creation of a cargo hub at Lambert St. Louis International Airport.

In an editorial published late yesterday, the paper warns that the $360 million in tax credits that legislators are to consider awarding the cargo hub next month "deserves a closer and skeptical look."

The opinion piece goes on to quote a director at the Kansas City airport, Tom McKenna, who doubts the incentives will accomplish their goal of establishing the St. Louis' airport as a major trading hub with China.

"To think you would get them to break out the Asian stuff, or just the China stuff, and incentivize them to aggregate that in St. Louis doesn't make any sense," McKenna tells the Star. "It's not going to happen. ... Missouri taxpayers should be very concerned about this."

He also doubts that Lambert will provide enough return goods for a full flight back to China as most trade now heads to cities such as Chicago that already have strong cargo hubs.

I can already anticipate the comments this post will generate from the St. Louis business community eager for a $360-million shot in the arm to build warehouses near Lambert and provide other services for the project.

"Of course, Kansas City doesn't want St. Louis to get a cargo hub! We're their competition," they'll say. -- or -- "Shocking that a Kansas City airport official would pan a proposal to give another airport $360 million in incentives!"

But the Star is just the latest critic of St. Louis' so called "aerotropolis." The guy who wrote the book on the subject has also thrown cold water on the deal, as have other industry experts. Moreover, since it's Missouri taxpayer money that will be used to subsidize this project, folks in the western half of the state have every right to question it.

Here's hoping that state legislators will do the same when they meet in a special section next month to consider this potential boondoggle.
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