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Kansas City Shifts To Open Bidding On New Airport Terminal

Lexi Churchill
KCUR 89.3

Kansas City will take bids for building a new, single terminal at Kansas City International airport after all.  

Earlier this month, city officials announced that they would consider an offer from Kansas City based Burns & McDonnell to design, build and finance a new airport terminal to replace the horseshoe shaped terminals at KCI. Burns & Mac asked for exclusivity on the deal, but some council members wanted competitive bids on the enormous project, and last week another engineering firm, AECOM, from Los Angeles, tendered one, unsolicited.

“Now it’s clear that there are other options to consider,” says Kansas City Mayor Sly James. “And I think we should take time to assure our residents that we will only bring them the very best deal that we can get.”

Companies bidding for the work will have to meet the same benchmarks laid out in the Burns & McDonnell proposal, including the $964 million construction budget stipulated by airlines using KCI. Any workable proposal would have to leave the city in charge of operating the terminal, which is often not the case with privately financed airports.

Competitors will have just three weeks to submit rival proposals, and then Burns & McDonnell will have an opportunity to match competing bids. James says the city is still on track to put the issue to voters this November. 

Frank Morris is a national correspondent and senior editor at KCUR, a partner in the Kansas News Service. You can reach him on Twitter@FrankNewsman.

I’ve been at KCUR almost 30 years, working partly for NPR and splitting my time between local and national reporting. I work to bring extra attention to people in the Midwest, my home state of Kansas and of course Kansas City. What I love about this job is having a license to talk to interesting people and then crafting radio stories around their voices. It’s a big responsibility to uphold the truth of those stories while condensing them for lots of other people listening to the radio, and I take it seriously. Email me at frank@kcur.org or find me on Twitter @FrankNewsman.
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