Kansas City Mayor Sly James is holding a 2 p.m. news conference Tuesday and is expected to announce that the Kansas City International Airport single-terminal project will be opened to competitive bidding, according to sources.
Kansas City company Burns & McDonnell proposed that it would secure private financing and then design and build the new airport terminal — but it also wanted exclusive rights to the project that city leaders would like to put up for voter approval in November.
Then Los Angeles-based AECOM, a leading airport engineering firm, sent a letter to the Kansas City Council on Thursday asking to be considered for the terminal replacement project.
Council members at the time questioned the AECOM letter, interpreting the firm’s overtures as a request to not only design, build and finance a new KCI terminal as Burns & McDonnell proposed, but also operate and maintain it.
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City officials have said that outside operation and maintenance of KCI was a nonstarter. AECOM on Friday sent another letter to James, saying the firm could provide a design and finance approach to KCI without running operations and maintenance.
The mayor and City Manager Troy Schulte have endorsed Burns & McDonnell’s plan. The engineering firm wants the City Council to decide on a pending memorandum of understanding June 15.
The sources who told The Star the city would now take competitive bids declined to be identified.
Quinton Lucas, a Kansas City Council member, said there was angst about the no-bid nature of the Burns & McDonnell plan. Tuesday’s news conference is expected to reveal additional details, such as the timeline of the bid process and the parameters of what the city will request of bidders.
“I’d like to see what the (request for proposals) really looks like,” Lucas said.