ST. LOUIS (KMOX) — Who should have a say on the possible privatization of Lambert Airport?
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson has her feelings on the issue, but some leaders in Saint Louis and Saint Charles counties have questions, too.
ST. CHARLES COUNTY Saint Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann tell KMOX News he thinks Lambert has a near-monopoly on flying here-to-there for his residents and that makes the airport a regional asset. He adds that in 1997 he proposed there should be some sort of regional approach and that he had the support of Missouri Senators in Saint Louis and Saint Charles Counties. Ehlman backs this with his frustration over the City taking $6.5 million a year out of the airport despite the city "making some really bad decisions in the past" such as the W1W runway expansion. Ehlman thinks state lawmakers could step in to preempt any privatization of Lambert, instead of putting the airport into more regional hands.
ST. LOUIS COUNTY When KMOX's Maria Keena spoke with St. Louis County Councilman Ernie Trakas he says the council has "spent 2 years peeling back layer after layer of fraud, corruption, dishonesty, and lack of transparency" from the city. He believes the airport is "a key regional assesst. Ehlman also told KMOX that he agrees with the Port Authority when it comes to privatization needing an independent study before any decision is made. Trakas challenges Mayor Krewson for not reaching out to any Council Executive in the St. Louis Metro area when the concern of the airport being a regional asset was raised. Trakas was prepared to submit his resolution calling for a public vote on whether to privatize Lambert but held back after Saint Louis' NAACP President Adolphus Pruitt requested he research minutes from previous privatization meetings first.
ST. LOUIS CITY After all of this, KMOX went to Mayor Lyda Krewson to get her thoughts on the claims of Lambert being more of a regional asset that everyone should have a say about. Her response "I think it's interesting that all of a sudden their interested in taking a regional approach. It would have been nice had (St. Charles and Saint Louis counties) bothered to chat with [her] beforehand." Krewson adds that she "looks forward to whatever comes out of Saint Louis Countys' study" and it's appropriate for the counties to "advise" on the airport. But, ultimately the decision of privatization rests with the city of Saint Louis - which owns the airport.