The single terminal boosters on the Kansas City, Missouri, City Council have gotten their way. Last week the Council passed unanimously–despite internal protestations–a measure that would put the question of a single terminal to the voters.
It reads as follows: “Shall the City of Kansas City be authorized to construct a new passenger terminal at Kansas City International Airport and demolish existing terminals as necessary, with all costs paid solely from the revenues derived by the City from the operation of its airports and related facilities, and without the issuance of additional general airport revenue bonds unless such general airport revenue bonds have received prior voter approval?”
Opponents inside and outside the City Council would have much preferred that the citizens of Kansas City be given a choice between a new single terminal and remodeled existing terminals. For that reason, the primary organized opposition group, Citizens for Responsible Government (CFRG), strongly recommends that citizens vote “No” on November 7.
In a press release the CFRG denounced the plan to demolish the existing structures as the “Kansas plan.” Says the CFRG spokesman, “Most of the people parading around the city, on television and radio, etc. selling this idea don’t live in Missouri!” That is the least of the CFRG’s objections. “There is no firm plan presented nor cost estimates associated with this idea,” the press release continues. “Airline passengers will pay for this, just as they do now. There is no change to that part of the equation. The change will come when they decide on the financing plan to be used and who will sell that package. Shouldn’t all this be decided before we vote?”
The CFRG also strongly objects to the role City Councilwoman Jolie Justus has played in pushing the single terminal proposal forward. “She agreed to chair the Airport Committee and more importantly the Bid Selection Committee while the law firm where she is employed has business with one of the bidders and that bidder does extensive business with the airport and the city, millions of dollars every year!.” The bidder in question is the engineering firm of Burns & McDonnell, from which Justus has received campaign donations as well. Says the CFRG, “She should have recused herself from day one!”
“Once the single terminal pundits get this out of their system,” the CFRG concludes, “we can initiate plans for remodeling our current airport into a mid-century modern facility which will be what the voters want; not what the mayor, a few city council members and the high rollers from Kansas want. The first step is to defeat it in November at the ballot box.”