“You Smell a Rat That’s Wrapped in Week-Old Fishpaper”
This morning, KMOX’s Charlie Brennan interviewed air cargo expert Michael Webber, who earlier this week gave a scathing review of the “Aerotropolis” legislation that may go before Missouri’s House and Senate in a special session. Webber said that he was highly skeptical of the current Aerotropolis plan, and that the more he hears about how supporters were promoting the project, “the more [the project] falls apart.”
“As you start stripping away carriers that automatically won’t be part of the Saint Louis equation,” Webber said, “I think any expert that isn’t on the payroll of the proponents of this project would probably come up with a likelihood of [Aerotropolis] being successful at something under 1 percent.”
In response to a question about local cattle farmers flying their herds overseas, Webber told Brennan that a livestock export facility built in Kansas City was used fewer than 10 times after it was constructed two decades ago. Atlanta had constructed a similar facility for transporting horses, used during its 1996 Summer Olympics, but even in that international hub, he said, use for the facility plummeted after the games to levels similar to those of Kansas City’s livestock facility.
And Webber was particularly skeptical of the warehouse component of the legislation, which constitutes the bulk of the tax credits.
“When you see the projections as wildly exaggerated as this is, you don’t only smell a rat. You smell a rat that’s wrapped in week-old fishpaper,” Webber said.
“So, when you start talking about folks going from 100,000 square feet of proven need for warehouse space to asking for 27 million [square feet], you’ve got to think this thing is really rotten.”