KCI development approved without financing plan

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After weeks of delays, the airport committee Thursday approved a development agreement to build a new terminal at KCI Airport.

What hasn’t been approved however, is how the $1.5 billion construction project will be funded.

The city is preparing an alternative to short-term borrowing from other city funds.

“We will not be borrowing from the general fund in order to pay for this airport,” committee chair Jolie Justus said.

Approval of the development agreement by the full city council next week, combined with approval of an environmental assessment by the Federal Aviation Administration Thursday should allow the developer, Edgemoor Infrastructure, to begin preparing for demolition of Terminal A as soon as next week.

This despite the fact that money to pay for the huge project is not yet in place.

Justus says the city is including about $90 million in short-term loans as part of a bond sale that will provide the long-term financing for a project that’s now estimated to cost $1.85 billion, when debt repayment costs over 35 years are included.

“Right now we’ve been having discussions about short-term financing and where to borrow the money,” Justus said. “A lot of folks have concerns about different options available. One of the things this council has said is they want to make sure none of that money is borrowed, even temporarily, from our general fund or any of our other funds.”

One committee member, Teresa Loar, voted against the agreement. Another council member, Scott Wagner, says he doesn’t like the idea of approving the deal before determining how it will be funded. Aviation Director Pat Klein has said that wrapping the short-term loan into the bond sale that will be offered by the Industrial Development Authority of Kansas City adds a little more cost to the project, but he says it’s worth it to start construction sooner rather than later.

Details of the financing plan are expected to be presented to the committee next week.

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