There is a story on page one of today’s KC Star under the headline: Political Turbulence Rattles Plans For A Single-Terminal KCI. Overall, the story is well-researched and well presented. However, there are a few points that merit comment or clarification.
“I’ve been surprised that there’s so much love for KCI, for the present configuration,” said Ed Ford, a City Council member from the Northland.
Perhaps this was taken out of context but it’s a rather stunning quote. Prior to launching this site a month ago, even I was aware with how much people loved the convenience of KCI compared with other airports. It continues to win awards. People talk about it in the same way they talk about restaurants they like. Guests comment about it. How can a councilman working on a possible makeover and especially one who lives in the Northland be “surprised”?
Mayor Sly James, who supports moving forward with a study on the merits of a new terminal, acknowledged how quickly the opposition surfaced. “I think what happened is that the concept got pushed out before we had figured out how to push it out,” James said.
That may be, but I still think that the bigger issue is that the KCI plan as presented appears to have been poorly conceived. If it’s a bad steak, no amount of sizzle will make it edible.
For now, James and a majority of the council appear undeterred by the public pushback. Negative voices are often the first and loudest, the mayor said, and he’s heard plenty of support from other local residents for a new airport terminal.
And it’s foolish to shut down the debate and kill the proposal before it’s fully studied, he said.
100% agree which is why I started this website and conversation. There seemed to be people on the Council who were not interested in conversation and alternatives. The “shutting down of debate” seemed to be coming from the council to advance the proposal.
“It’s going to happen regardless of whether our citizens want it to happen,” – Ed Ford
“Do we have the airport that a first-class city needs and deserves?” James asked. “If the answer is this is the best airport for this city, OK.”
On April 11, the City Council voted 9-3 to continue planning for a new airport terminal to make sure the project is warranted and affordable. By the end of May, the city will announce a series of public hearings to provide more information and gather feedback.
A good start.
• Grass roots opposition. Savekci.org has garnered lots of comments, and its creator even flew a banner over the Royals’ opening day game to promote the cause.
The website’s creator works in the same Northland building as Roe, and the two have discussed working together on the airport issue.
Actually, I did NOT fly the banner over Royals’ opening day but the photo I saw looked great and I thank whoever was responsible. I do work in the same building as Jeff Roe and thus know him but we’ve never worked together and did not talk about KCI until after Dave Helling saw this website and suggested a connection between Jeff’s firm and mine. Since that time, we have discussed working together in the future as the issue progresses.
Which brings me to a comment on Tony’s Kansas City this morning about the Star article.
Credit to the article for kind of outing the Save KCI crew as a sponsored blog or at least connected to Jeff Roe and written from his Northland lair.
This blog is not sponsored other than the time investment it takes for me to deal with it. It is in no way connected to Jeff Roe other than what I noted above and is written from MY lair, which at the moment is a La-Z-Boy at home with a cup of coffee that needs to be reheated.
By the way, I give nearly all of the credit to Tony and TKC for this issue exploding like one of his nuke pictures. He picked up the Dave Helling blog post about this site and led with it. Within hours of his posting I had been interviewed by 2 TV stations, 3 newspapers and a radio station. Several thousand people have now visited the site and several hundred have taken the time to voice their opinion or send notes of thanks and support.
KC has found its voice and it’s being heard.
It’s absurd to spend $1.2B for a few long layovers for the more or less nonexistent connecting flights that everyone seems to be using as the excuse for a one terminal configuration.
Let’s keep the conspiracy theory stuff between you and a pal over a couple of beers. Most of the supporters will be folks that get the sold the idea that newer is better. Our market size is in the low ’20’s, and the airlines are consolidating and regionalizing, not looking to build new hubs. Spending 1.2B$ is not smart, we have other city needs.
I like the Mayor. But I disagree about his criticism of being ‘good enough’. Just like your home, your family budget, your employer’s budget, we choose to excel in some ways, and in other ways just be good enough. Do I want to give government sufficient tax money to have all first class public services, when many things in my life (old car, leaky windows, poor kitchen appliances, low water pressure in one of the showers, etc.) are just ‘good enough’? If I don’t want higher taxes for myself, do I have the right to insist that others pay for a new airport? These issues all tie together. Let’s pay off the new sewers, maintain police and fire, fix some streets, demo more abandoned houses, add a little light rail, payoff our P&L deficits… then think about upping the stuff that is just ‘ good enough’.
I fly in/out of KCI every week and have since I moved back to KC 7 years ago. KCI is a fantastic in/out airport, TSA lines are relatively short. Now, admittedly, it would suck if you had to connect through KCI (but, since it’s not a hub for anyone, the number of “connecting passengers” should be relatively low).
One of the “problems” that this is supposedly going to fix is that KCI has more TSA (or contractors) doing security than any other airport in the country. While that may be true, TSA is a federal agency. (So the money that would be saved is, largely, federal). Point is, that argument is solving a problem that really isn’t a problem that belongs to the airport. (It’s a federal gov’t problem).
I suspect that the primary problem that the single terminal would solve is that the current design forces much of the vending to be outside of security which depresses vendor sales (and, in turn, depresses the revenue that the airport would make as a landlord). That also depresses sales tax revenue (due to lower sales). A single terminal design would, in fact, solve that problem.
My big issue is that none of the justifications pass the “smell” test. If they were to be honest about things (justify it from a vendor/landlord standpoint) or if they were to trot out an airline or two that would promise increase service if the new terminal was built, that would be different. Just don’t lie to me about it.
I love KCI just the way it is. I travel all over the country and no airport is as easy to get in and out of. And because we DON’T have a hub, we pay a ton less. Please don’t let them screw it up and waste all the millions we put into the airport a few years ago.
This new terminal is simply a crooked scheme to hand out business to local contractors and to “fix” one of the most convenient practical and efficient airports in the country is otherwise absurd. I’ve never been to an airport anywhere in the country that functions as well as KCI. Support of this project is literally a branding of nonsense to the people. And if there’s some existing infrastructure that needs updating, it’s cheap compared to building a new terminal. Yeah we all get it, concentrating all the poeple in one terminal will be great for the new Applebees etc. that you’ll stick in there.