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Airport seeks short-term loans to start new KCI construction

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- City council members want to be ready to start building a new airport terminal, as they expect the airlines will soon approve a cost sharing agreement.

Airline executives are reviewing that deal this week, and Aviation Director Pat Klein says he expects it to be approved "very soon."

Council members touring the airport developer's offices learned that construction workers are ready to start work the day after a development agreement is approved.

Klein confirms that the Industrial Development Authority of Kansas City took action Tuesday to provide about $90 million in short-term loans to the airport, so construction can begin as soon as the deal is in place.

Otherwise, Klein says the project would be delayed until March, when funding from airport bond sales is expected to first become available.

Still, both Klein and airport committee chair Jolie Justus assured the public the new terminal will pay for itself with no funding from other city budgets or intergovernmental borrowing.

"Airports are paid for by airlines and revenues paid for by people using the airport," Justus said. "So that’s exactly how this will be financed, exactly what we will see moving forward."

Justus says the short-term loan will be paid entirely from aviation funding. Klein says this adds a little more cost to an already expensive project, but he says it's worth it to get construction started sooner rather than later.

The committee delayed voting on airport financing agreements for a week in anticipation of airline approval of the cost sharing deal. Details of how the new terminal will be paid for is expected to be discussed by elected leaders next week.

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