- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 7, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A citizens’ task force on Wednesday recommended replacing the existing three terminals at Kansas City International Airport with a single terminal, subject to more information on costs that have been estimated as high as $1.2 billion.

Nineteen of the KCI Terminal Advisory Group’s 24 members voted in favor of the proposal, which mirrors a plan the city’s Aviation Department supports but which many people in the community have rejected because they like the convenience of the current set-up.

The advisory group’s recommendation is intended to guide the city toward one of its most important civic building projects of the next decade, The Kansas City Star (https://bit.ly/1kLT6qs) reported. The Aviation Department has said it needs to modernize the 40-year-old airport.

The recommendation is the start of what could be a two-year process to devise a more detailed plan for the next phase of construction. Airlines and the Aviation Department have pledged to collaborate on an affordable plan to move the airport forward by April 30, 2016.

The citizens group, appointed by Kansas City Mayor Sly James, has been meeting nearly every two weeks since June, hearing from airlines, business leaders, security officials and several hundred citizens who showed up at four town hall meetings.

Doing nothing is not an option, the group concluded, because of the airport’s crumbling infrastructure, aging operating systems and insufficient gate and security space.

Proponents say the proposed airport would offer better security, more parking and more retail options, and it would save on the cost of repairing the current aging facility.

Opponents say that while the current airport may need significant upgrades, demolishing and rebuilding is unnecessary and would also be costly.

Earlier this year, a representative for the four major airlines at KCI told the task force the proposed changes could lead to less service for passengers if the renovations cost too much.

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Information from: The Kansas City Star, https://www.kcstar.com


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