Joseph Miller
Despite a recent interview stating the contrary, the MCI Airport Terminal Advisory Group (ATAG) will make a recommendation on the proposed $1.2 billion new terminal plan for Kansas City International Airport (MCI). On May 7, the group is expected to advise whether officials should build a new terminal, renovate the existing terminals, or build a new central building to connect the three terminals.

We have long been critical of the new terminal plan. We have pointed out that the plan is costly and unnecessary. As for ATAG, the group received all of its “airport schooling” from the Kansas City Aviation Department (the same people who created the new terminal plan) and were never presented any real alternatives. We criticized the wildly varying estimates for repairing MCI’s existing terminals, a sentiment that ATAG Co-Chairman David Fowler shared. “Any dollar amount placed on any alternative is almost pretty random," Fowler said.

Precisely because ATAG has not been presented with real alternatives to the new terminal plan, many ATAG members feel they do not have enough information to make a recommendation, and rightfully so. How could one expect ATAG to select an alternative such as repairing the existing terminals when it could cost anywhere from $240 million to $785 million?

From the beginning, the Kansas City Aviation Department has pushed its preferred plan for MCI, supplying the public with alternatives that exist only in a few PowerPoint slides and contradictory quotes in newspaper articles. If the Aviation Department insists on a referendum between its plan and a straw man, ATAG should do the sensible thing and send the planners back to the drawing board until they present legitimate alternatives.

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About the Author

Joseph Miller
Policy Analyst
Joseph Miller was a policy analyst at the Show-Me Institute. He focused on infrastructure, transportation, and municipal issues. He grew up in Itasca, Ill., and earned an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a master’s degree from the University of California-San Diego’s School of International Relations and Pacific Studies.