Kansas City engineering firm Burns & McDonnell has proposed to privately build and finance a new single terminal at Kansas City International Airport, as a way to finally garner voter approval and get the controversial airport project done.
Burns & McDonnell has quietly floated to city government officials that it would be the lead firm in creating the design and doing the construction work. It says it has committed to using local labor, suppliers, contractors and subcontractors to the extent possible.
The firm also would come up with the financing for a project that is estimated to cost about $1 billion. It plans to put money into the project itself, attract other investors and line up private lenders to complete the financing.
Such a financing would be unusual for a U.S. airport, as most airport improvements in this country are financed through airport revenue bonds. Some European airports have been privately financed.
The advantage of this plan, according to company representatives and Mayor Sly James, is that Kansas City would issue no bonds and bear no taxpayer risk if the airport failed to generate the revenues needed to pay off the construction and other costs, including overruns.
Read more: Kansas City Star