Councilmen advises caution before jumping into $1 billion deal for new KCI terminal

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Kansas City councilman Quinton Lucas is leading the charge in questioning the city's brand new proposal for Kansas City International Airport. 

Lucas supports rebuilding KCI, but wants the city to hire national experts to vet the current plan. 

Last week, the city unveiled a $1 billion proposal mostly financed by private dollars from local engineering firm Burns and McDonnell. 

"It's a huge decision. I don’t think even in the private sector a $1 deal where the board of directors learns about it, let’s say three weeks before it’s voted on, is something really normal," Lucas explained.

Burns and McDonnell will develop the airport under an LLC. The city will still own it, but will not have full control.

"The question we're trying to say is, 'so what does that mean in terms of control? Do we still have a chance to fund maintenance operations, cleaning crews, etc, and will we have enough money to do that?'” said Lucas.

Mayor Sly James spoke about the plan last Friday, calling it "innovative" and a "Kansas City solution to a Kansas City problem."

"Our community has grown. Our needs as a city have changed. And plain and simple, the airport of the 20th century allowed Kansas Citians to leave here and see the world, now what we need here is an airport of the 21st century that allows the world to come see Kansas City," James said. 

Lucas simply wants more done to protect the flying public, before entering into a major contract. 

"We're trying to make sure we've covered enough bases for us to ensure that well into the future we've thought about the contingencies that could happen for us.”

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