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Friday, April 19, 2013

On a new airport--this bears repeating


Thanks to a article in The Kansas City Star in an "As I See It" column and to our Missouri Representative Sam Graves, we got a bit of common sense and intelligence on the idea of a new airport:


KC's airport doesn't need 'fixing'

The City Council recently gave the go-ahead to study a proposed new airport.

As I have written in this paper before, I am a fan of the current three-terminal design, as are the majority of Kansas Citians.

  A recent poll found that 70 percent of local residents favor keeping KCI as is.

The fact of the matter is, it’s a convenient and accessible airport for visitors and residents alike and it has been ranked among the top five airports in the country on a consistent basis by J.D. Power and Associates, including as the highest-rated medium-size airport.

There are a number of reasons to maintain the current KCI, from the ease of use for customers to the effectiveness of the multi-checkpoint security screening.

But the biggest reason may be the price tag of building a new airport.

The current estimate, which may still rise, is $1.2 billion. In the last decade and a half, $250 million has already gone into renovating the current airport.

That investment — equal to more than one-fifth of the cost of building a new airport — will have gone to waste with a new terminal.

It appears the city is planning to pursue federal funding for part of the project, and that inevitably means some Washington bureaucrats who don’t appreciate how we feel about the convenience of the current layout will attach strings to that money. Federal funding would also only cover a fraction of the cost of constructing the new airport.

The remainder would likely come from bonds, which the public would need to approve.

Those proposing a new terminal suggest that taxpayers won’t be stuck with the bill for the portion that Washington doesn’t cover, and that citizens will be completely immune from debt associated with the project.

But the bonds would be paid back through ticket prices, higher fees, and taxing the food and drink you buy at the airport. So if you use KCI, you’ll be paying more anyway.

The Federal Aviation Administration requires airports to file a new master plan every 10 years, and as the result of legislation I got passed last year, they must take customer convenience into account when planning for the future.

We’re just five years away from a new master plan, and at that time we can assess how best to move forward.

Even if the one-terminal proposal were approved this year, it is highly unlikely the new airport would be up and running in that time frame anyway. Additionally, the city’s Aviation Department has already made clear its intention to close Terminal A later this year.

This will help the airport save costs, particularly on security and baggage handling.

It may also be the answer to improving KCI, rather than building an entirely new terminal.

Let’s see what the coming years bring before rushing to build a costly new facility that won’t guarantee the same comforts we enjoy now.

Washington is full of people willing to spend millions of dollars to fix something that isn’t broken or to dismantle something convenient and practical. We can’t let Kansas City join them.

The fact is, besides being expensive, at a minimum cost of $1.2 billion dollars, it would also be environmentally irresponsible, throwing away, as it would be, at least 3 buildings, in essence.

My big question is, why is no one proposing updating and innovating the existing group of buildings? It makes no sense not to. Clearly it's not falling down. None of the buildings are. Heck, they haven't been there that long.

Let's do updated, extremely efficient heating and cooling and modernize that so there are cost efficiencies and savings there. Let's add some solar energy possibly. The advancements with that technology lately has been great. We should at least look into it. It makes too much sense.

It seems the Airport Authority got this "jones" for a new airport and they want to shove it down our throats, as though it's the only option.

And as though it's either cheap, wise or someone else will pay for it.

I say and propose again, some architect or architects need to look into making the existing terminal B the main, unloading, security terminal and then having walkways out to terminals A and C, for our gates. Problems and issues likely solved, I think. Then we don't have to tear down the existing and still have plenty of gates.

Link to original article: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/04/16/4185642/kcs-airport-doesnt-need-fixing.html#storylink=cpy#storylink=cpy  

Other links:   http://www.savekci.com/congressman-sam-graves-adds-a-rational-voice-to-the-conversation/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+SaveKCI+(SAVE+KCI+!)  

Join the cause here:   http://www.savekci.com

 https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/SaveKCI?fref=ts

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