KANSAS CITY, Mo -- Mayor Sly James took the wraps off plans Friday to build a new single terminal at Kansas City International Airport, to be privately financed by local engineering firm, Burns and McDonnell.
A new privately built airport terminal would be the first of its kind in the nation. Burns and McDonnell is the third-largest airport designer in the nation, working on complex projects at LAX in California and La Guardia in New York City.
"We need a new modern KCI, not just for us but for the rest of the business community," said Ray Kowalik, chairman and CEO of Burns and McDonnell. "For our citizens, so they can travel places. People can come here and have a great experience."
The company says it wants to use its expertise to create a showplace for its hometown.
Burns and Mac would secure about a billion dollars in private funding, with the total cost of the financing estimated at $2.5-billion.
City taxpayers would not have to borrow money, raise taxes or pay for any cost overruns.
Voters would still be asked to approve the plan in November, and the mayor says he's committed to making sure a new terminal would preserve the easy access from curb to gate that people in the region love about KCI.
"I can tell you (travelers) will be able to walk no more than 100 steps probably because there will be moving sidewalks," James said. "But I also would encourage them to look at their Fit Bits that we wear because we wear them for a reason. Maybe more than 100 steps after barbecue, which you will be able to buy there."
Airport users would pay off the private investment. The city expects travelers should expect about a $3 or $4 increase in airport user fees on their plane tickets.
Burns and McDonnell gets exclusive rights to design the new airport, no plan would be put out for bid. And the city would set a guaranteed maximum price.
The agreement also calls for Burns and McDonnell to hire local union contractors to build the terminal, and work to include firms owned by minorities and women in the massive project.
The city also set up a way for citizens to provide feedback for the proposal, click this link for more information.