This week, we posted our case study on the so-called "Aerotropolis" proposal, which would create $360 million in state tax credits. You can read that, along with the underlying documents we collected as a part of our research here.

In short: Many promises made by legislators and organizations in favor of the tax credits are supported by little, if any evidence. Other promises — like the statement by Rep. Caleb Jones, that constituents could fly cattle to China — are flat out wrong.

The case study attracted the attention of none other than Greg Lindsay, co-author of Aerotropolis: The Way We'll Live Next, and the only human to go undefeated against IBM's Jeopardy!-playing super computer, Watson. Lindsay's book is the foundational text for Aerotropolis proponents everywhere — so he is likely one of the experts who can comment most intelligently on the Saint Louis proposal.

From Lindsay, via Twitter: [After mentioning our case study] "Will this convince everyone in Missouri to please stop abusing this word?"

Then: "Calling some cargo flights and warehouses an aerotropolis doesn't make it one."

And then (emphasis added): "Well, nobody asked me, but as the guy who wrote the book on the subject, I don't think it will work there."

Well, I'm shocked. I've focused on the details of the legislation, pointing out details that appear to favor the politically connected few, and the current availability of warehouse space. I would have thought that the legislation's authors — whoever they are, since many disavow any role in crafting the legislation when the details are discussed — would have perhaps solicited the opinion of the people who literally wrote the book on the Aerotropolis concept. Apparently, they didn't.

On top of that, Lindsay doesn't think the Saint Louis proposal will work. So why are legislators still pushing for this bill?
Audrey Spalding

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Audrey Spalding