No Runny Eggs

The repository of one hard-boiled egg from the south suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (and the occassional guest-blogger). The ramblings within may or may not offend, shock and awe you, but they are what I (or my guest-bloggers) think.

Thursday Hot Read – Patrick Ishmael’s “Fatal Attraction: Politicians and ‘Eco-Devo’”

by @ 19:18 on June 23, 2011. Filed under Economy, Politics.

Over at The Weekly Standard, Patrick Ishmael highlights a boondoggle of a pork-barrel “green” project that purports to turn St. Louis’ Lambert International Airport into an “Aerotropolis”. The plan is to provide subsidies for $300 million worth of warehouses and another $60 million to international freight companies. There’s one bit of a problem, however:

Never mind that there are already more than 18 million square feet of unused warehouse space around the airport. And never mind that it was only a dozen years ago that the city of Saint Louis splurged in building a third runway — at a cost of more than a billion dollars — that is virtually unused today. That was another eco-devo project that failed to deliver promised jobs and economic activity. It also led to the condemnation and destruction of more than 2,000 homes under eminent domain.

Michael Webber, a consultant with long experience in the international shipping industry, debunks almost all of the claims made for the Aerotropolis, saying that Saint Louis “has adequate on-airport capacity (existing facilities or unimproved land) to host adequate air cargo facilities to support the unlikely maximum of 8 projected weekly freighters,” the number expected to be facilitated by the legislation.

The big problem is air freight is prohibitively expensive, which is why typically only very-time-sensitive items are shipped by air. The idea floated by one of the Missouri advocates that cattle could be flown to China is patently absurd.

Apparently Milwaukee is another place where the Aerotroplis concept is forming. There isn’t quite as much empty warehouse space around Mitchell Field as there is around Lambert, but there’s also two different rail lines bounding the airport, which makes for a more-balanced shipping component.

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