Kansas City voters have a generational opportunity Tuesday to make air travel more comfortable and safe, create thousands of construction jobs and place the community firmly in the 21st century — all without raising taxes.
We recommend a yes vote on Question 1, which would allow the construction of a new terminal at Kansas City International Airport.
The case for a new terminal is clear. The aging three-terminal horseshoe configuration opened 45 years ago for a different aviation industry and a different traveling public. The airlines serving Kansas City say unequivocally that they need a contemporary terminal to better serve their customers. The airlines have also been clear: Adding flights is nearly impossible without a new facility.
The current terminal can be inconvenient. During times of heavy traffic, passengers stand in lines that stretch the length of the concourses. There aren’t enough seats in secure areas. Dining and shopping options are practically non-existent.
The terminal isn’t safe. KCI is among the largest terminals in America where arriving and departing cars use the same roadway, threatening passengers who want to cross the street.
KCI is a dark, unwelcoming experience for visitors. It hurts business recruitment and makes a lousy first impression.
Regrettably, opponents of progress have offered a campaign of obfuscation and misdirection about KCI. Voters should not be confused:
▪ Taxpayers won’t pay for the new terminal; airport users will. It will cost 11 million passengers about $2.50 more per trip, raised through tickets, parking and concessions. Travelers from outside of Kansas City will pay most of the cost.
▪ In the highly unlikely event all airlines default, bondholders will lose, not taxpayers.
▪ A new terminal will right-size the airport, saving maintenance money.
▪ The new terminal will be safer. Screenings should be no more difficult than they are today.
▪ A new terminal will produce construction jobs and training opportunities.
▪ Remodeling is not the answer. It postpones an inevitable replacement and may cost more on an annual basis than building new.
Kansas City’s voters have always used common sense and have shown a desire to look to the future, not the past.
Vote yes on Question 1 for a better KCI and a better future for Kansas City.