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Carpenters union and NAACP call to revive privatization of St. Louis Airport

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ST. LOUIS – Leaders of the carpenters union and the local NAACP are calling on St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson to revive the idea of studying the privatization of St. Louis-Lambert International Airport after putting a halt to the study last month.

The St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council and the St. Louis NAACP said the mayor ended the process without giving the public a chance to see the proposals from several companies interested in operating the airport, which would still be owned by the City of St. Louis.

Representatives of both organizations are seeking an open records request to make public all the work that had been done by a city committee that had been studying airport privatization.

"A public-private partnership is the only way to generate a stream of revenue that will benefit city residents without raising taxes,” said Al Bond, executive secretary-treasurer for the carpenters union. “Somebody made the comment, ‘Well, we don't want to be the first in the country to do these public-private.’ Well, let's be first for once."

They also called on companies that had wanted to submit Lambert lease bids to continue to do so despite the mayor’s decision to stop the process. Both groups believe privatization would generate more jobs and revenue for the city.

"Any investment into Lambert Airport should also address the issues that impact north St. Louis, that those investments would turn out to be some of the greatest benefits that this region can ever have if we can create a vibrant north St. Louis," said Adolphus Pruitt, president of the NAACP St. Louis chapter.

A spokesperson for Mayor Krewson said both the NAACP and carpenters union are entitled to their opinions but the mayor hasn't changed her position on killing the privatization process. He added that the mayor decided to end the study because the public and business support for the idea simply was not there.

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