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St. Louis BOA president has enough support to put airport privatization bill before voters

The passed bill would lead to a public vote on if the city should turn over control of the airport to a private contractor in a possible 50-year $1.7 billion lease

ST. LOUIS — Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed has reportedly secured enough votes to finalize a bill that would allow voters to decide whether to privatize St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

St. Louis BOA Legislative Aide Mary Goodman confirmed the news to 5 On Your Side Thursday morning. The bill would ask voters if the city should turn over control of the airport to a private contractor in a possible 50-year $1.7 billion lease.

Reed wants the bill passed quickly so it can be on the November ballot where another petition-driven initiative is likely to ask voters the same question: should St. Louis privatize its airport? 

On Monday, several labor unions representing 14,000 St. Louis-area workers came together to protest privatization plans, saying they aren't in the best interest of the workers.

RELATED: Unions take a stand against plans to privatize Lambert airport

“Privatization means lower wages and worse benefits when working families are already struggling to make ends meet,” UNITE HERE Local 74 President Kevin McNatt previously said. The union represents nearly 450 employees at Lambert and approximately 3,500 workers across the St. Louis area. “Privatizing Lambert would harm working people across our entire city.”

Reed said in his version of the plan, money from any airport lease will be dedicated to "safety and quality of life" programs like job training and neighborhood redevelopment.

The bill is scheduled for its third reading when the board meets on Friday. If approved, it would go to Mayor Lyda Krewson for final approval, and then it would go to a public vote.

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