For additional information, please feel free to check out the city’s official FAQ document regarding the airport project.
Q1: Why do we even need this? Why can’t we just keep KCI as it is?
A: Well, first of all, on a practical level, the airport requires regular maintenance that will cost the city $500 million just to keep the airport running as is with no improvements. At a certain point, applying band-aids and temporary fixes becomes a waste of money.
Second of all, even if it made short term financial sense, it doesn’t make long term financial sense. The current configuration is holding us back in terms of being able add flight and attract new business. Just look at Amazon’s announcement that they want to build a new headquarters somewhere in the US that would instantly bring 50,000 jobs with it. Our current airport makes winning that bid a long shot.
Q2: Can’t we just re-open Terminal A?
A: That’s been looked at and rejected by the airlines because it doesn’t address two of their major concerns:
1) They can’t fit bigger planes in that would give them the ability to add longer routes
2) They can’t comfortably fit their passengers in the gate areas.
Not to mention, building a new airport creates thousands of jobs and it doesn’t require any city tax money to be spent to get it done. The same can’t be said of just re-opening Terminal A.
Q3: It sounds like this airport is going to be a lot less convenient than our current one.
A: Not at all. In fact, the developers are committed to retaining all of the things we love about KCI: easy pickup and drop-off, short walking distances, and close-by parking. The good news is, there will be some great new features like the opportunity for more and better flight options, the opportunity for more direct flights, more space at the gates, and more restrooms.
Q4: I thought Burns & Mac were doing this. What happened?
A: The selection committee spent a lot of time on this, did a lot of research, and ultimately made the best possible decision.
The Edgemoor proposal gives the city the most bang for its buck. Edgemoor’s proposal delivers the smallest profit to the developer, which means more money is being spent on the actual airport.
If we set everything else aside, cost efficiency is a pretty good reason to go with Edgemoor.
Beyond that, though, Edgemoor expressed a great willingness to work with the city on the development process and they have a strong track record of building successful projects all over the country, including right in our region. They also have a great record of meeting or exceeding minority- and women-owned business hiring goals as well as local workforce hiring goals.
Q5: Who is Edgemoor? They’re not from around here. Why should we give our money to some out of state company?
A: According to the economic impact study conducted for the Aviation Department, this project is going to create thousands of local jobs. Those are local jobs for local workers and that money is going to stay right here in Kansas City.
What’s more, Edgemoor has been clear that they want to use local businesses to build this airport. They want that local knowledge and experience. They have been nothing but complimentary of the local operators. Let’s give them the opportunity to build a strong, local team.
Q6: Will Edgemoor commit to using MBE and WBE contractors?
A: Edgemoor has an impressive track record of meeting or exceeding MBE and WBE hiring goals and local workforce development goals on previous projects. We need to make sure we have a strong agreement in place for Kansas City, but Edgemoor’s track record indicates that they can deliver.
The airport project has the power to be a transformative project for many MBE and WBE businesses. We should make sure that opportunity becomes a reality.
Q7: Will Edgemoor own the airport after it’s built?
A: No. The city will continue to own and operate the airport.
Q8: How is this paid for? Are my taxes going up to pay for this? Shouldn’t we be using the city’s money for more urgent needs?
A: This is an important point: No tax money is going to be used to pay for the airport.
That’s worth repeating because it’s not what people expect to hear: No tax money will be used to pay for the airport.
We’re not using airport bonds for this project. The bonds that are used will be paid back by using the revenue generated by the airport, things like ticketing fees, concession fees, parking, etc. The people who use the airport the most will pay for the construction of the new terminal – including people who don’t live in Kansas City!
Again, that bears repeating because it’s a pretty good deal for us: travelers who don’t live in Kansas City, but who travel through our airport, will help pay for the cost of the new, better KCI.
Q9: Well, what happens if the airport doesn’t generate enough revenue?
A: The airlines are committed to covering any shortfalls.
Q10: Well, what happens if one or more of the airlines go out of business?
A: If one airline goes out of business, the remaining airlines pick up the slack.
Q11: Why are we doing this in November? Don’t we usually do these kinds of elections in April?
A: After discussing and debating the idea of a better KCI for years, now is the time to get it done.