ST. CLAIR COUNTY, IL (KMOX) – It has been labeled a $330 million boondoggle by critics, an alternative to Lambert International Airport by supporters but to this day, nearly 15 years after opening, MidAmerica Airport has yet to turn a profit.
The St. Clair County Board has approved $3.65 million in bonds to help pay for the growth of North Bay Produce and Boeing. Board Chairman Mark Kern says taxpayers will not get stuck with the bill since the two companies will repay the bonds through renewed lease agreements.
“We continue to add business to MidAmerica Airport and all those things help with the bottom line and we’re going to continue to market our airport and welcome new customers to MidAmerica,” he said.
Kern is a strong defender of MidAmerica and credits it with saving Scott Air Force Base during base re-alignment and closure (BRAC, for short).
“If you look at what MidAmerica Airport is, a tower that was built that replaced the aging tower at Scott Air Force Base that was a weakness listed in the 1995 round of BRAC, it built a new school at Scott Air Force Base which was listed as a weakness in the ’95 round of BRAC,” he said. “Those things, combined with the new Patriots Landing Housing that was built as part of the airport project, all ensured that Scott Air Force Base would stay open and really eradicated a lot of the weaknesses that were shown in the 1995 BRAC report.”
Kern expects the expansion of North Bay and Boeing to create over 100 jobs.