The Missouri Department of Transportation has said it will side with the city in its quest to close the St. Clair Regional Airport.

In a letter sent to the Federal Aviation Administration dated Friday, March 22, MoDOT Interim Director David B. Nichols wrote that "because the city has made its desire clear, MoDOT will not oppose the city's request to close the airport."

The two-paragraph letter continues by emphasizing that "however, all federal airport closure requirements must be met by the city."

Mayor Ron Blum received a copy of the letter on Friday afternoon. The information was not available to The Missourian until after the March 23-24 weekend edition of the newspaper was printed.

"This certainly is a positive step," Blum told The Missourian on Friday afternoon.

The letter was addressed to Jim Johnson, the FAA Central Region Airports Division manager in Kansas City. Copies were sent to Missouri's congressional delegation as well as to Ed Hassinger of MoDOT.

St. Clair officials have been trying to close the airport located on the north side of the city for several years. Permission must be granted by the FAA because the city obtained federal grant monies for improvements at the facility.

For more information, see the Wednesday, March 27, Missourian.