If approved, single terminal airport could be financed, built by local engineering firm

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A proposal to build a single terminal airport at KCI is moving forward Thursday.

City officials will discuss whether to give a local engineering firm the exclusive right to finance and build it.

This is the first step – approving a Memorandum of Understanding between the city and Burns and McDonnell.

It’s expected to take a few weeks to iron out all the details, but the discussion starts at 1 p.m. during a Business Session at City Hall.

City leaders announced the project last week outside the now defunct Terminal A, where it would be built.

If the City Council gives Burns and Mac permission to move forward, council members would later have to approve the company’s finance plan and then put it on the ballot in November.

Only if the majority of voters approve a single terminal airport would Burns and Mac then build it.

Officials say the total cost of the project financed over thirty years will be around $2.5 billion.

Taxpayers would not pay a cent of it – Burns and Mac would secure private funds and pay back the loan using airline fees and parking and concession revenue.

The city could also add a one-cent tax to all retail sales at the airport, so only those who use the airport would pay back the debt.

Construction would take about five years, and Terminals B and C would stay open during that time.

Opinions on a single terminal are mixed.

Some fear it won’t be as convenient and harder to park and navigate, but others like the idea of having more restaurants and retail options in a single terminal.

Some city officials have expressed concerns about giving Burns and Mac exclusive rights to this project, so this Memorandum of Understanding is not a for sure thing.