Members of the Kansas City Council’s Aviation Committee emphasized Tuesday that they will insist on credible cost estimates for both a new terminal and renovations at Kansas City International Airport.
Those comparisons are needed, they said, to assure the public they are making an informed choice on the best option for the airport’s future.
“I want to see hard data,” committee chairwoman Jolie Justus said after the committee met Tuesday with aviation director Mark VanLoh and other top aviation officials to get the history and background behind plans for updating the airport.
VanLoh said those cost estimates and comparisons will be available, possibly by the end of this year.
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In July, a study group of aviation stakeholders that includes a Southwest Airlines representative said it had concluded that a new terminal would actually be cheaper to build than renovating the existing terminals. But the group declined at that time to provide specific cost figures, saying it was premature.
Some new City Council members who took office Aug. 1 said that they remain skeptical about that policy direction and that they talked to many people while campaigning who want to keep KCI as it is.
Justus said the committee will tour KCI on Sept. 8 to view the infrastructure problems and deferred maintenance challenges at the 43-year-old airport. The committee plans to meet about every other Tuesday to discuss the best way to improve the airport.
A final terminal development plan is expected next April, but some have said it may come before then. Any revenue bonds sold to finance airport improvements would require approval by Kansas City voters, so Justus said any recommendation from her committee will need substantial public support.