Seeking growth, Springfield officials may weigh new governance for airport

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BRANSON MO NEWS: Buy PhotoMark Howell, the regional spokesperson for the TSA, displays a pair of brass knuckles while talking about prohibited items at the Springfield-Branson National Airport on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018.(Photo: Andrew Jansen/News-Leader)Buy PhotoCity officials may consider letting go of some authority over the Springfield-Branson National Airport, but only if the move would help the community grow.A task force could soon begin to explore the pros and cons of that possibility and others.Springfield Mayor Ken McClure said the task force would consider what could happen if ownership and authority over the airport is transferred from the city to a separate governmental subdivision, such as a regional airport authority. The group would also look at other models of governance.Brian Weiler (Photo: File photo)Privatization is not an option, according to a city document handed out to council members Tuesday.”There are lots of questions,” McClure told the News-Leader. “Nobody is saying we’ve got to do this.”Aviation Director Brian Weiler calls the airport an “economic engine.” He estimates its economic impact on the region exceeds $400 million a year. Last year, a record-breaking 993,129 passengers used the Springfield-Branson National Airport. According to Weiler, 2018 is on track to set a new record.He said about 2,000 employees work at the airport on a daily basis, including businesses based at the airport, such as car rentals, the gift shop, airlines and a restaurant.”Things are going very well, but if there is some way we can do things so we can grow faster, create more jobs and provide more services, I think we should look at it,” Weiler said.Weiler said the average Springfield citizen likely wouldn’t notice any difference if authority over the airport was shifted away from the city. Where it would make a difference is allowing the airport to be …


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