Government & Politics

KCI campaign fund-raising tops $1 million

A rendering from Edgemoor on the interior of a new single terminal at KCI.
A rendering from Edgemoor on the interior of a new single terminal at KCI. Edgemoor

The flow of cash into the campaign for a single terminal at KCI has topped $1 million, with more than half coming within the last two weeks, according to public filings.

In the three-month period ending Sept. 30, the Kc Transportation Transit And Tourism Committee, or Kc3T, raised almost $465,000, according to a quarterly report filed Monday with the Missouri Ethics Commission. The report shows the campaign with $179,000 cash on hand as of Sept. 30.

Since the beginning of October, the pace of contributions — nearly all of them from the city’s leading corporations — has picked up. Filings show $580,000 in donations.

That includes $60,000 from Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate, the developer selected by the city to lead the $1 billion project, which had been criticized for not making a contribution.

Other major contributors this month include the Western Missouri and Kansas Laborers District Council ($50,000), Lockton ($40,000) and J.E. Dunn Construction ($25,000). The Kansas City Chiefs donated $10,000.

The $1 million total surpasses the amount raised by Progress KC for April’s successful general obligation bond initiative. That campaign collected slightly more than $900,000, according to state reports.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James said Tuesday that he was somewhat disappointed with the single-terminal war chest so far.

“I thought we’d be a little further ahead than that,” he said, adding that he would continue to raise funds “until someone tells me to stop because we have enough.” James has placed the threshold amount for an effective campaign and $1.5 million to $2 million.

The money was enough to put the campaign on television. The first 30-second spot, which began airing Monday on local cable and broadcast outlets, shows James asking voters to keep the city’s “momentum” and approve “an airport for the next century.”

He called the option of keeping KCI as it is “a $500 million band-aid.” That amount refers to the estimated cost of capital improvements.

Campaign manager Mark Nevins declined to discuss the amount of advertising time purchased, but said it was enough for most viewers to see it multiple times.

Edgemoor drew criticism from some City Council members last week for not having contributed to the campaign in which voters that will determine whether the new terminal will actually be built.

Managing partner Geoff Stricker said the company needed to be confident that negotiations with the city on a detailed construction agreement, called a memorandum of understanding, were likely to be successful.

One major area of discussion was the level of participation by minority and women-owned businesses and minorities in the construction workforce. The city also wants loans or grant programs available for small or disadvantaged businesses.

Stricker said Tuesday that the issues are not fully resolved but that the company “got comfortable” with the direction of the negotiations.

“We’re getting very close,” he said.

When completed, the memorandum of understanding will go to the City Council for final approval.

City officials said privately they were hoping for a six-figure contribution from Edgemoor. But Stricker noted that two members of Edgemoor’s team also contributed: Clarkson Construction Co. of Kansas City ($10,000) and The Weitz Co., a Des Moines-based general contractor ($30,000). That brings the total from Edgemoor and its partner companies to $100,000.

The campaign’s major expenditures include $100,000 to the Global Strategy Group for research and polling, and $113,000 to Powerful Performance Solutions for canvassing and other field work.

As Kansas City officials campaign for next month’s ballot proposition to approve creation of a new single-terminal KCI, they must also push back against the notion that they have allowed the existing airport to go to seed — as a strategy to spur p

Kansas City International Airport is the front door to The City for business travelers and those traveling for pleasure.