Is The Aviation Department Inflating Repair Estimates For KCI?
Our previous post dealt with how the Aviation Department has scant information on how it will save money on its $1.2 billion new terminal for Kansas City International Airport (KCI). This post questions the Aviation Department’s recently presented analysis on the cost of repairing and keeping KCI’s current layout.
The Aviation Department once claimed that the cost of repairing KCI’s existing terminals would be around $600 million. However, as of a presentation on Sept. 10, the Aviation Department now claims the cost will be between $645 million and $785 million. A cursory inspection of these estimates prompts many questions, as the itemized repair costs are much larger than those for identical or similar items in the new terminal plan’s budget.
For example, the Advance Terminal Planning Study’s cost for a modification to the central utility plant, which the Aviation Department now claims is a cost ceiling, is $19.6 million. But in the September presentation on repairing the old terminal, the estimated cost for the same project is $20-25 million. Notice that, for the same project, the highest possible price in the new terminal plan is less than the lowest possible price quoted in a repair plan.
As for requirements for parking structures and roadways, the Advance Terminal Planning Study predicts that the new terminal will require an entirely new loop road system, a new parking garage, and significant demolition, all at a cost of $320 million. But in the September 10th presentation, the cost of merely refurbishing current roadways and parking, which is seemingly a lot less extensive than what is required for the new terminal, is placed between $210 and $260 million. One of the reasons given for this inexplicably large expense for refurbishment is to “increase parking capacity.” KCI has more parking spaces than any peer airport in its planning study and almost three times the spaces of St. Louis-Lambert Airport. Why KCI requires more parking capacity needs explanation.
If these discrepancies are because the Advance Terminal Planning Study’s numbers are too optimistic, the Aviation Department should be using a higher estimate than $1.2 billion for a new terminal. If not, the estimate for the cost of refurbishment is too high. Advisory Committee co-chairmen Bob Berkebile’s call for independent analysis is welcome if it can clear up these questions.