A committee meeting of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen scheduled for tonight could be one of the first chances for the public to weigh in on airport privatization — but critics are hoping it won't be the last.
At issue on tonight's Transportation Committee agenda is Alderwoman Cara Spencer's bill to force a public vote on privatization. Spencer introduced Board Bill 93
in June, and this is its first public airing.
Expect fireworks ... or at least a whole lot of public comment.
"This is the public's opportunity to say, 'This is really important to us,'" Spencer says. "'We don't want 29 people to decide the fate of this asset. We want to be a part of it.'"
See also: Airport Privatization Has St. Louis Surveying an Unexplored Frontier. Who's in the Pilot's Seat?
Indeed, backers of the plan to lease St. Louis Lambert International Airport have said there would need to be a vote of the Board of Aldermen — that's the 29 people Spencer is referring to — before any deal could go through. But they've been less clear about whether or not there would be a city-wide vote. Board Bill 93, as well as a complementary grassroots effort from a group calling itself STL Not for Sale
, are attempting to force the issue.
Spencer says she can't guarantee that public comment will be taken, but says it is generally done at committee meetings like this one — and the evening start time seems tailor-made to encourage citizen participation.
"The public ought to have a say in the privatization of the public's biggest asset," she says. "This impacts the entire region."
If you want to weigh in, the meeting kicks off tonight at 6:30 p.m. at St. Louis City Hall (1200 Market Street).
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