Burns & McDonnell, a Kansas City engineering firm, has proposed privately financing and building a single terminal at KCI.
"What is unique about this proposal is first of all it's a KC company coming forward to talk about improving a KC asset," Councilwoman Jolie Justus said.
The roughly $1 billion project doesn't include bonds or taxpayer money. The city will still own and operate KCI, and the proposal would have to be approved by the Kansas City Council and by voters.
The debt to build the airport would be incurred by private financing. Unlike other options, neither the city nor the Aviation Department would be responsible for the debt. Burns & McDonnell and the airlines would back the debt.
"This proposal puts forth a proposal zero money from the city. No tax increase to any Kansas Citian. Adds not a penny to the city's Debt level or budget," said KC Mayor Sly James.
As part of the memorandum, the airlines have agreed to pay about $85 million a year.
There will be a user fee increase around 4 dollars, according to city manager Troy Schulte.
Under the new plan KCI would have two levels for drop off, pick up and ride sharing services and to alleviate congestion.
it would be a central meeting place for travelers flying on different airlines.
The terminal would have 35 new gates and more than triple the parking from roughly 2,000 to 6,500 spaces.
Schulte believes the city council will approve this hopefully by mid June.
It would then go to a public vote in November.
It's advantageous for Burns & McDonnell to get started sooner because construction costs go up about 6 percent every year, according to city leaders.
There were discussions last year whether or not to renovate or rebuild KCI. In May 2016, James said the city and its residents weren’t ready to move forward with a major revamp of the airport.
In May 2017, KC leaders held the first of 40 listening sessions on the potential for a new airport. This came after years of studies and research done by the city and its airlines partners.