Major push for single terminal at KCI begins

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Officials at Kansas City International Airport are serious about replacing the current three terminals with one mega terminal.

The airport used a federal grant to do a study and the Aviation Department ponied up more than $100,000 to hire a public relations firm to push the plan. And on Thursday, a handful of city leaders got the latest look at what it could be.

"I just wanted to stress that no deals have been done. We are at this point just starting the process," Kansas City, Mo., City Manager Troy Schulte said.

The new layout addresses concerns at the curbfront -- and getting through security quickly and efficiently.

The director of KCI, Mark Vanloh, believes it would be easier to use than the current "three terminal" system.

"We want to get Kansas City in the forefront and future of the American city and be the best.  I think that is going to do that."

Proponents say vacationers and the not-so-frequent fliers don't notice the commonplace bottlenecks of business travelers.

"I've flown out of Atlanta, O'Hare, everything in Washington, D.C. area and it's just a nightmare getting from parking lot through security to the gate," traveler Ken Surmeir said.

The estimated cost for the change is $1.2 billion. Federal aviation funds are given to KCI each year which will help, but Vanloh said he isn't shy about asking for more money if needed.

"We are going to finance this on our own and any grants we get will come in and help for the financing," he said.

The rest of the money would come from bonds which voters would have to approve. Tax papers are not affected to pay off the bonds -- that is, unless you fly. Airport, airline, food and merchandise fees and taxes would be used to pay off the debt.

It would take at least five years before the new terminal would open, officials added.


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