Readers offer pros, cons of privatizing Cleveland Hopkins

November 16, 2017 GMT

Readers offer pros, cons of privatizing Cleveland Hopkins

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Two weeks ago, we featured a provocative idea from reader Ken Prendergast, executive director of All Aboard Ohio, who floated the possibility of privatizing Cleveland Hopkins as a way to generate money for an expansion of public transportation. His idea generated a range of responses – pro, con and in between.

A selection:

The city of Cleveland does not have the resources nor expertise to run the airport the way it could be run. Private ownership and management would take the airport to a level unachievable by city government with its many other responsibilities (many of which could be improved with privatization). Give investors a profit motive then step back and let capitalism do its magic.

-- Blayne Vilk, Bedford, via email

Why can’t a government agency produce the same revenue stream for the city? In fact, without investors to reward, why can’t the city produce more revenue for infrastructure than private enterprise can? Is it possible to have an open, factual discussion of the motives and behaviors that underlie the results in each scenario (probably not, looking at the political arena)? Are there laws that tie the hands of the government as manager/employer but that allow government to outsource to a business that does not have to follow the same rules?

— Russ, via email

Drive down the Indiana Turnpike, they privatized that. Just make sure you use the bathroom in Ohio because service plazas in Indiana are now spread out by 100 miles each.

— posted online

Privatization works for services like waste management and many others, including hospitals, and there is no reason it cannot work for many more.

So yes, privatize everything from the U.S. Postal Service to public transportation. Turn education over to regional/multi-state nonprofit conglomerates to run along with prisons (notice I say nonprofits — profit should never be a motivation behind education or incarceration). Even the welfare system could be publicly subsidized yet privately managed in a similar way to more effectively control/eliminate systemic and generational cycles of abuse.

— posted online

The public paying for large projects via taxes, and then privatizing, is one of the oldest tricks in the books. A few get rich off the backs of the serfs. If you want positive change, make it a regional airport like Detroit. It has to be taken out of the hands of the politicians in downtown Cleveland.

Ideally, it would be nice to build a modern airport somewhere between Cleveland and Akron, which could replace both CLE and CAK. Of course that will never happen -- at least not in my lifetime. The best we can hope for is a major expansion at Hopkins. Perhaps it could be done by extending Hopkins to the south, possibly onto the I-X Center property that Cleveland paid dearly for under Mike White’s regime. Expanding the terminal to the south would provide more space for vehicles dropping off and picking up passengers on the upper and lower roadways. And there would be space for shuttles, too! Those roadways are very cramped now. It would also be feasible to connect the terminal to concourse D. Then, after a reopened concourse D, all existing concourses could be torn down and rebuilt, one at a time. Let’s do something more than just replacing the facade and flooring every few years.

--posted online

Related: Build a new Cleveland Hopkins airport? Some readers are thinking big