The future of KCI: the risk of waiting too long to remodel or rebuild

Posted at 10:53 PM, May 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-01 23:53:22-04

Kansas City leaders held the first of 40 listening sessions on the potential for a new airport. This comes after years of studies and research done by the city and its airline partners. 

Dozens of people asked questions Monday night. The biggest concerns were about cost and convenience. 

Aviation Director Pat Klein led the discussion, dispelling myths and discussing options. The ultimate goal is to determine the final project. 

There is no timeline for the project, but the city worries if it waits too long, the airlines could take their money elsewhere. 

"If the council would want to do something, the November ballot has been out there a lot," said Klein. "If the council would want it on the ballot, there would have to be some community support probably around August.”

The all-new one terminal set up comes from the airline's request. 

They'll be paying for a good portion of the project, along with the passengers who use the facility. A new airport will not be built with taxpayer dollars.

"Only users of the airport facility will pay for it, correct," Klein confirmed. 

That was the persuading point for many people in the room. 

"The fact that rather than taxpayers have the burden on them, it's going to be the people riding the flights that are going to bear the burden, and if this going to be a small amount, that is a good selling point for me," said Steven Burton, who attended the listening session. 

“In something as functional as an airport, I think it makes good sense that we move on it right away," said Archie Williams, who travels a couple times a year. 

Studies show about 12 percent of the people who travel through KCI are Kansas City residents and 88% are travelers just passing through.