Dave Helling has an excellent piece in the Star. Well thought out and backed up with numbers. And it provides one of the funniest lines of this discussion to date.
After noting that the Aviation Department would likely have to find at least $50 million just to cover borrowing costs, he points out that the usual sources are all tapped.
There aren’t a lot of ways airport users could generate that kind of revenue. Ticket sales are already taxed, and air travel here is slumping. The airlines could pay more in rent, but other airports would pounce if the cost at KCI gets too high.
Vendors could sell more beers and books, but KCI already collects an additional 1 cent tax on airport purchases — the limit. People who rent vehicles at the airport pay for a central car leasing facility and the Sprint Center, and Kansas City’s car rental taxes are already among the highest in the country.
That leaves the parking lot.
In the last fiscal year, the Aviation Department collected $13 million in terminal rents, $16.4 million in landing fees, and $20.9 million from passengers using the facility, but it collected almost $46.2 million from its parking operations — more than $125,000 a day.
(KC Aviation Director Mark) VanLoh doesn’t run an airport. He runs a parking garage with an airfield attached.
As educational as this is (and remember that the original plan called for moving the terminal miles away from the lucrative economy lots) the punchline is this:
And it shows where serious money might be available. Parking fees can provide bottom-line cash, and may have room to grow. Parking in Terminal B’s garage now runs you $22 a day. In Denver, it’s $32 for a comparable space (and a whopping $96 a day for short-term parking).
The only people who use these parking lots are the local originating passengers. Not out of town travelers, not airlines, not rental car users, just us.