Voters voice support of single-terminal KCI, plans move forward

The city-wide election raked in an overwhelming vote of support for the construction of a new single terminal Kansas City airport last week.

Pre-election projections estimated the vote for the airport would split close to the middle. However, nearly 75 percent of those casting ballots welcomed the update to KCI.

The vote came as a big win for Kansas City Mayor Sly James, who has long been campaigning to bring KCI to modern day.

“I think it’s really impressive that the people of this city made their statement in such a resounding fashion,” James said in an announcement last Wednesday. “I’ve said many, many times, KCI is our front door and it ought to be attractive and inviting. Our old front door served us well but it’s time for a new one that’s better and reflective of the 21st century.”

Voters passed the $1 billion transition between a three-terminal KCI to a modernized single-terminal KCI. (Source: flykci.com/usatoday.com)

Voters passed the $1 billion transition between a three-terminal KCI to a modernized single-terminal KCI. (Source: flykci.com/usatoday.com)

Emma Woodson, a UMKC student also recognized the need to modernize the airport.

“Single-terminal airports are nothing new,” said Woodson, a communications major. “In fact, most airports are single terminal, so when KC proposed this idea, I was pretty interested.”

The next step is setting the plan for the new airport in motion.

City Council meets with the project developer Edgemoor Infrastructure to discuss an agreement proposal. Plans to break ground, however, have already been projected for fall of 2018.

Voters passed the $1 billion transition between a three-terminal KCI to a modernized single-terminal KCI. (Source: flykci.com/usatoday.com)

Voters passed the $1 billion transition between a three-terminal KCI to a modernized single-terminal KCI. (Source: flykci.com/usatoday.com)

 

The single terminal will be built on the site currently home to Terminal A, which has been dormant for the past few years.

During construction, KCI will continue to operate as normal, continuing usage of Terminals B and C, until the single terminal is completed in what is expected to be 2021.

The $1 billion project will be financed through airlines such as Southwest and by airport consumers with increased ticket and parking fees.

KCI, completed with the three-terminal design in 1972, has failed to keep up with the times, seeing a sizable decrease in available flights– from 70 flight destinations in 2007 to 40 in 2011.

Currently, no direct international flights go out from Kansas City, which could deter Amazon from considering Kansas City as the location for their second headquarters.

“The job potential and opportunities that it will bring to our city is a pretty big deal,” said Woodson. “Our city has been up-and-coming these last few years and I think this will advance us in more ways than one.”

Evolving the airport to a single-terminal is expected to give KCI the ability to handle larger passenger jets, provide adequate waiting space for flight passengers, more retail and food options and safer security check-points.

The current renderings for the terminal present an H-shaped structure with 35 gates and room to expand to 42 gates in the future.

The design includes a two-level pick-up and drop-off zone intended to bring down crowd sizes and close-in parking.

Adding a modern-touch to the welcome of the City of Fountains, Edgemore Infrastructure unveiled a two-story fountain set to be front-and-center of the new terminal with technology to project messages and colors on the flowing water.

Design open houses will be set later in November and December to give community members an opportunity to discuss what they want to see in the new airport.

 

eapfx4@mail.umkc.edu

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