Price tag for new single-terminal KCI airport on the rise again to nearly $2 billion

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The price tag for a new single-terminal airport in Kansas City is on the rise again.

The project started at around $900 million. Then in June, the cost rose to $1.2 billion. Now it's almost doubled from its original cost. The new airport is now estimated to cost $1.9 billion.

Details about the cause of the increase haven't been released yet. Edgemoor, the company contracted for the project, is presenting the information to the city's airport committee Thursday.

"I think what you are seeing now is a reflection that costs go up, but the scope of the project got significantly larger," City Councilman Dan Fowler said.

Fowler is the vice chair of the KCI Airport Committee. He said the increase isn't a function of cost overrun, but rather the need for a larger terminal, more gates and an increased cost in materials in labor the longer the project takes to break ground.

He said the largest infrastructure project the city has ever taken on will have a positive impact on people by jobs, ancillary product and service sales and other economic boosters. Although the project is not funded by tax dollars, there is a concern that people who travel will have to pay.

"The costs do get calculated in, but it's not necessarily each customer at KCI,” Fowler said. “It is based on overall cost, and their most significant costs are not the infrastructure. Your most significant costs are fuel and labor."

"I still see it as a tax,” Councilman Quinton Lucas said. “If we have people who are going to be paying more every time they take off, every time they land in Kansas City, this is important."

Lucas also sits on the KCI Airport Committee. He said there has been enough time to negotiate the details of the new airport build.

The City Council aimed at passing ordinances to move the project forward by October, but the month is gone. He wants to see a firm plan with firm pricing and a firm deadline to break ground.

"I get how you get from $964 million to $1.2 billion with changes. I think it is harder to tell people how you get to $1.9 billion because this is a cost to everybody using KCI -- me, you, everybody watching who flies in and out of the airport," Lucas said.

Edgemoor issued this statement about the price increase:

“Over the last year, our team, the airlines and the city have worked in partnership to reach an agreement that delivers an airport Kansas City deserves and meets the needs of the airlines now and into the future. We look forward to providing an update to City Council at Business Session tomorrow afternoon.”

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