Public editor

Don't local taxpayers buy KCI tickets, too?

Updated: 2013-10-15T23:31:27Z

By Derek Donovan

The Kansas City Star

The centerpiece story in today's print edition is about the trend shifting financing for large municipal airports from federal grants to locally-generated revenues.

Of course, the focus here was the proposed $1.2 billion project to replace the current three-terminal Kansas City International Airport with a single-terminal plan.

A reader who emailed me picked apart one sentence that he found somewhat misleading:

"In Missouri, voters must approve the bond measure that’s needed to finance the project, though none of the money would ultimately come from local taxpayers."

Those bonds would be repaid in ticket fees generated at the new KCI. No, they would not be repaid directly by taxpayers.

But: "Are local residents who fly in and out of MCI not going to pay the extra $3 or $4 per ticket just like visitors?" asked the reader.

And the answer is that yes, of course they would. So while those local taxpayers won't be putting their money directly towards paying off the bonds, that money still takes a short trip right back around to the bonds.

I should note that several previous stories have explained this in greater detail, but readers often remind me that not everyone reads or remembers everything that's been published about a topic. Here, an additional clause to the existing sentence would have made it clearer, and avoided the appearance that it's eliding a detail boosters of the new airport would of course want to downplay.

To reach Derek Donovan, call 816-234-4487 weekday mornings or send email to Follow him at

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