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Revised airport agreement with Edgemoor appears to have the votes

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The city's aviation committee unanimously approved a revised memorandum of understanding Thursday with Edgemoor, the developer selected to build a new terminal at KCI Airport.

Supporters may now have enough votes for the full council to approve the agreement next week.

The revised memorandum  of understanding resolves 43 of 45 concerns expressed by council members, who defeated a similar measure in December.

Chief among the changes are holding Edgemoor to a minority and women owned business participation rate of 35 percent for the $1 billion project.

Reimbursement for costs incurred by the developer, should the agreement be terminated, has also been reduced from $30 million to $23.2 million.

A community benefits agreement is now worth more than $28 million and includes money for veterans and Northland projects.

"It does seem like some of the folks who voted no in December, they seem to have a lot of their questions answered," said Councilwoman Jolie Justus, chair of the airport committee. "But I want to make sure we have a robust dialogue and I never count anybody out or in until the actual vote takes place."

The full council will debate and vote on the proposed agreement next week, when it will only need seven votes to pass.

From comments made by council members in attendance Thursday, it appears the agreement now has those seven votes.

If the MOU had been advanced to the full council on the same day it would need nine votes to be approved.

A number of local firms also told committee members that Edgemoor has hired them to be part of the project and they are now hiring more staff as a result.

Supporters say in the next week they will discuss the deal with council members not on the committee to address any lingering doubts.