New Airport Possibility for St. Louis and Kansas City
I had pretty much spent the day researching airport privatization, with KMOX playing in my office (I love streaming radio), when Carol Daniel read the AP report that the Chicago–Midway Airport privatization deal had collapsed after the private consortium failed to raise enough capital by the deadline. Like the failure of the Missouri Bridge public-private partnerships, this one is squarely a victim of the economy, not policy. The good news is that this opens a large airport privatization spot authorized by the FAA — which Midway had, until now, been awarded.
The other lesson is that giving these ideas careful consideration is hardly dangerous for the public, given that Chicago has received a $126 million penalty payment from the private investors because they walked away from the agreed-upon deal. So, what KC really needs to do is move forward with this idea while protecting its flank, like Chicago did.
You can get hard details on the credit issues and penalty payments here. The Kansas City Business Journal also has some old reports that indicate how long this idea has been around, and how Mayor Mark Funkhouser supported it (or, at least, supported its consideration) while serving as city auditor.