Can Kansas City leaders sell new KCI in time for November vote?

With election day in Kansas City just five weeks away, advocates for for a new single-terminal layout at Kansas City International Airport must clear several hurdles among voters, who will decide the fate of the airport plan.

First, voters’ affinity for the “old aiport,” a configuration of three horseshoes, makes the idea of a new configuration difficult.

Others are bothered by the contentious selection process, which began in May with Mayor Sly James’ attempt to award Burns & McDonnell, the “hometown team,” a no-bid contract for the $1 billion project.

Lastly, a recent survey commissioned by the Dover Group found that 13 percent of respondents said they have heard mostly negative information about the single-terminal plan.

In the poll, 51 percent of 503 likely voters favored a new terminal while 45 percent were against. A summary of the poll, circulated by Dover consultant Mark Nevins to key surrogates, called the margin “razor thin” and left the campaign with “little room for error.”

Political professionals say these hurdles put the single-terminal plan at risk. For city leaders much is at stake. James is placing his prestige and remaining political capital on the line for what is likely his last major initiative as mayor.

For the business community, defeat almost certainly means it will be years before it gets another opportunity to transform KCI into the sleek new portal it covets.

Read more: Kansas City Star

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