KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The new price tag to build a new single terminal at KCI is $1.5 billion and the airlines are scheduled to sign the agreement to pay for it on Feb. 25.
“We really don’t need to be in the process of fear-mongering on this," Kansas City Mayor Sly James said Thursday. "Right now, we have an agreement with the airlines."
Weeks of negotiation are over. Six airlines agreed to pay $1.5 billion to build a new KCI instead of the reported $1.64 billion.
“Because we are so early in the process, we can set a reach goal, which is 1.5 billion, then we can design towards that goal,” Councilwoman Jolie Justus said.
While the verbal agreement was celebrated by some, others have concern.
“The $1.5 billion is not $1.5 billion; It is $1.5 billion plus the extra cost of issuing the bonds that everyone will have to pay for who utilizes the airport,” Councilman Scott Wagner said.
Southwest Airlines and five others promised that taxpayers will not pay for the airport, they will.
“It does not flow through city revenues, that is how airports are funded across the country. Anything when we sign, we are signing us up for the debt obligation for the future of the new KCI,” said Steve Sisneros with Southwest Airlines.
The question now? Will the city take out a loan to pay for immediate costs and be reimbursed by the airlines later.
“We will put all the options on the table next week for the city council and have a discussion among the committee and council about how we want to move forward on financing,” Justus said.
“My feeling is, if we have an agreement, then there is no reason why we should be issuing more debt until we go out to bond and then everyone gets paid back,” Wagner said.
There is no word on when a groundbreaking will happen.