The Buzz

The facts, faces and hum of local politics with Steve Kraske and Dave Helling

The cost to build a new KCI

07/25/2013 11:42 AM

07/25/2013 11:43 AM

The Show-Me Institute published a new analysis this week of the potential costs for a new single-terminal Kansas City International Airport

.

“An optimistic projection of future income still shows that Kansas City International Airport will lose tens of millions of dollars a year trying to pay down the debt for a proposed new $1.2 billion terminal,” the column says.

Well, maybe. Let’s look at some numbers.

The column suggests the debt service on a $1.5 billion bond issue would be an additional $68 million a year. (That actually seems a bit low. It would have to be a 30-year issue, or $68 million might not be enough.)

For the sake of argument, though, let’s round up annual debt service to $70 million.

More than five million people fly out of KCI each year. Assuming traffic remains steady, that means five million passengers would have to provide an additional $70 million a year to meet the debt service.

My calculator shows that’s $14 per passenger.

And that’s all revenue sources, not just tickets. (Kansas City now collects a $4.50 passenger facility charge, the maximum allowed.)

The $14 isn’t peanuts, of course. But it isn’t

impossible

to see how a combination of higher airline charges, more concession revenue, higher parking fees, cost reductions, and other steps could provide an additional $14 of revenue per passenger per year.

Right now, most airlines charge passengers another $20 just to carry a piece of luggage.

That doesn’t mean building a single terminal airport is a good idea, by the way. That $14 per passenger is money spent on the airport that could not be spent on groceries, or a movie ticket, or a new pair of shoes. Or maybe that $14 could be collected from everyone and spent on other pressing city needs, like roads and bridges.

The

merits

of a new airport remain a subject for examination.

But the

financing

may be easier than opponents suggest.

Here’s

Lynn Horsley’s story

.

Discuss.

Videos

Join the Discussion

The Kansas City Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service