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The future of KCI is in voters' hands

Posted at 10:48 AM, Nov 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-07 14:04:14-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Tuesday is Election Day in Kansas and Missouri, and the most talked about item on the ballot in Kansas City is Question #1. 

Question #1 asks Kansas City voters to decide if a single terminal should be built at KCI. 

After a back and forth process, city council awarded the contract to rebuild the airport to Edgemoor. 

Edgemoor has some ties to Kansas City from developing buildings, apartments, and bridges. 

"It is necessary for the city but this district to get the economic development and jobs," said Kansas City Councilman Dan Fowler. 

RELATED | We spent 24 hours at KCI. Here's what worked and what didn't

Kansas City Mayor Sly James has been a vocal supporter of the new airport terminal. After voting, he echoed the economic benefits of a new airport.

“I definitely voted for the new terminal,” he said with a smile. “It's what we've been campaigning for the past five years.”

The mayor said change is necessary for Kansas City to grow, and he’s optimistic by the support he’s seen for the proposal leading up to Tuesday’s vote.  

“It's time for us to build ours. It's that simple,” he said. “We can't continue to do the same thing we've been doing for the last 45 years for the next 45 years and expect it to work.”

Most of the voters 41 Action News spoke with were also in favor of the new terminal.

Those in support of the plan say the airport is outdated, inconvenient for out of town passengers and they say it doesn't provide modern day amenities like other airports.

But Gary Hines admitted he voted against the plan. He said other cities built new airports and didn’t realize the benefits they expected. 

“I am a frequent traveler, road warrior. I've spent over the last three years probably 400 times at the airport. I love the convenience,” Hines said. 

Fowler argued against the convenient claim from opponents. 

"It's convenient in one respect. If you show up at a non-peak period and all you gotta do is walk from the curb to your gate, it's convenient. Anything else it's not. If you have to wait in a holding area, it's going to be inconvenient. I tell people if you gotta wait you better get to know your neighbor because you are going to be sitting in their lap," said Fowler. 

If approved, the funding for the new airport would be made by increasing a tax on anyone who uses the airport. The tax would be enforced through things like a plane ticket, food and other items purchased at the airport. 

The polls close at 7 p.m. Tuesday.