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KCI terminal price tag, funding take center stage at City Hall

Posted at 3:32 PM, Nov 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-29 16:32:16-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- For the first time since the mayor announced the airlines will seek a second opinion on cost, the city's airport committee met to discuss the $1.9 billion new single terminal project at Kansas City International Airport.

During the meeting, Aviation Department Director Pat Klein told the committee airlines have asked his department to decide on the cost allocation method for the $20 million baggage handling system, which was supposedly a major sticking point in negotiations.

Klein also acknowledged however, the overall cost is an issue too.

"They want to verify the numbers are right," he said.

That's why the airlines are paying for a second cost consultant to come in and look at the plan. A different consultant already reviewed the new price tag and decided it was fair.

It wasn't just the overall cost that came up in Thursday's meeting; rather, how some of the project costs will be paid for also turned into a heated discussion.

According to the city's legal department, $48 million will be borrowed from various funds in the city to pay for the Edgemoor team's work until bond revenue comes in. 

"There will be some general fund money borrowed and repaid," explained Attorney Galen Beaufort.

Councilwoman Teresa Loar took issue with that loan.

"I think the problem is we were so adamant in this campaign for the airport that no general fund money, no taxpayer dollars would be used, and now we're using them," she said.

Mayor Sly James disagrees on what promises were made.

"The promise that was made to the public is there would be no taxes raised in order to do this," James said. 

However, a Q & A page on the city's website informs the public no general fund dollars will be used to finance the new terminal. The ballot language also asserts it will be built with "all costs paid solely from the revenues derived by the City from the operation of its airports and related facilities."

If for some reason the project is not completed, a representative from the city's finance department said they would borrow money externally for reimbursement, which would come at an added cost.