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Kansas City union members show their support for one-terminal airport construction plan

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Pat Dujakovich, President of AFL-CIO of Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Union members in the Kansas City area came out Wednesday to support a new, single-terminal airport that the city is studying and proposing.

Engineering firm Burns & McDonnell has proposed to privately build and finance a new single terminal at Kansas City International Airport to garner voter approval and finish the airport project.

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.

Builders Association Education & Training Center, 105 W. 12th Ave. in North Kansas City

Part of its proposal is that the firm would get an exclusive arrangement with the city to provide the design and come up with a guaranteed maximum price. This would lead to other firms not having access to make their own offer, nor would the city request bids. 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.

“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 project is estimated to cost about $1 billion,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. The firm said it plans to put money into the project itself, attract other investors and find private lenders to complete the financing.

“If you’ve ever seen Extreme Home Makeover, it’s kind of like that. Somebody’s going to come in, build us a brand new house and leave and we’re not going to pay for it. It’s going to paid for by others,” said Pat Dujakovich, president of the Kansas City-AFL-CIO at Wednesday’s show of support in North Kansas City.

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.

Voters would still be asked to approve the plan in November.

The city also set up a way for citizens to provide feedback for the proposal, click this link for more information.