Mayor Sly James announces new single-terminal plan for KCI - KCTV5

Mayor Sly James announces new single-terminal plan for KCI

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In his announcement, the mayor said the city plans to move forward with a plan laid out by engineering firm Burns & McDonnell. (KCTV5) In his announcement, the mayor said the city plans to move forward with a plan laid out by engineering firm Burns & McDonnell. (KCTV5)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Mayor Sly James confirmed a plan to move towards a single-terminal layout for Kansas City International Airport on Friday.

In his announcement, the mayor said the city plans to move forward with a plan laid out by engineering firm Burns & McDonnell. The plan is estimated to cost $1 billion.

"What we need is an airport for the twenty-first century, an airport that allows the world to see Kansas City," James said. 

"The airport is our city's front door," President and CEO of Visit KC Ronnie Burt said.

City officials say the new single-terminal airport would be built on the site of the current airport's Terminal A and the final design will retain the conveniences Kansas Citians appreciate, like parking, proximity to gates and curbside drop-off and pick-up. 

The privately financed airport terminal idea is believed to be the first-of-its-kind in the nation.

An innovative model, the airport would receive financing through private investment, paid for by airport usage fees, with no funds coming from the city's general fund, new taxes or existing bonds. A move that could shave up to a year off of the building schedule.

In order for the plan to happen, a memorandum of understanding will be drafted and must be approved by the Kansas City City Council. Voters in Kansas City would also have to approve the measure in November.

The proposal is rare but it would mean that taxpayers would not be at risk if the new layout fails. The responsibility would fall on Burns & McDonnell.

The globally-recognized leader in the engineering field and a Kansas City-based company would privately finance the design and construction of a new single terminal that is convenient, meets the needs of users, and meets the needs set forth by the airlines in 2016. 

James was adamant that the new plan would be privately paid for and would not cost the city any money or force the city to take on any debt.

"Not a dime of city dollars or funds, not a penny of debt for the city," James said. 

James says he challenged city business leaders to work on a plan to solve problems throughout the city.

"The representatives of Burns & McDonnell have put forth a truly innovative and unique proposal to solve the challenges of the airport and KC," James said. 

Ray Kowalick, CEO of Burns & McDonnell, spoke alongside the mayor and said the new airport plan is a need for the city.

"This design is very personal, not just to me but also to our employees. We need a new modern KCI, not just for us, but for the rest of our citizens," Kowalick said.

Kowalick said the new plan would add 35 new gates and a parking garage that could house up to 6,500 vehicles, three times the current parking at KCI. He also says the new airport will create "lots of new jobs."

Rev. John Miles attended the event and says he was asked by Burns & McDonnell to bring city leaders together to discuss how to give people access to working at the new airport.

The mayor says the new plan will keep the conviniences that Kansas Citians are use to and want, but people may have to walk a little more.

“Convenience means a lot of things. It means having a bathroom so you don’t have to wait in line, it's clean and modern, convenience means you can eat if your hungry, convenience means going through a TSA pre-check line if you have that ability, convenience means a lot of things,” James said.

James says architects are currently working on the correct flow of the new airport layout. He says that process will take a lot of time.

Under the proposal, the city would still own and operate the airport. 

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