Thursday, May 18, 2017

Kansas City Tax Fighter Open Letter To City Council Amid New Airport Push



Here's an EPIC KANSAS CITY OPEN LETTER letter that hopes to persuade Council to stand up against efforts to downgrade access at a vital local institution.

Take a look:

New Airport Proposal / Your important vote Thursday!

City Council Members,

You are correct to be very skeptical on the new proposal to build a single terminal airport at MCI / KCI. City Hall and Burns & McDonnell have teamed up for this latest potential fiasco. The Mayor is panicked and he wants to get something done before he leaves office, even if it is wrong! Use your head, don’t be part of a potential boondoggle. He started off this campaign with a lie. He has stated on several occasions in the last few days, “ I asked the business community to step up and nobody did, only B & M.” I would like to remind the Mayor Crawford Architects in Association with Woods Bagot (an internationally known airport designer and builder) stepped up a year and a half ago with extensive plans for remodeling our terminals. There was also another plan. The Mayor wouldn’t give them the time of day because he wants a single terminal. He is totally out of tune with what his constituents want and really doesn’t care. He know best! A former FAA official told us today, the Crawford plan was very well thought out and could work. It would also be less expensive.

We would like to suggest you google Trizac. This local project ended badly and could be an example of the road we are headed down.

You are wise to seek outside council for advice on this project. You should stay away from any consultant suggested by City Hall. Get an outside investment banking group to do the analysis. Learn the pitfalls of a sale / lease back arrangement and what would be the amount of money necessary to retire the debt. It will be way more than you think. Why does the builder have to lease the airport anyway?? Dangerous! Meeting with groups around the city, many times it is mentioned, if City Council Members had to repay part of the cost of failed projects, things would be scrutinized much more carefully. Most of these comments come in reference to Power and Light District and the Downtown Hotel. This is a project that needs careful scrutiny. Why the rush, the airports been years in the talking stage. Another few months to do it right shouldn’t be a problem. The Mayor and his pursuit of a single terminal airport is the problem and the reason for the delay.

KCI airport is operating at about 30% of capacity. It was built to land 90 plus aircraft per hour and we are at about 30 or 35 at the most according to an FAA official. Recent statistics in Kansas City Infozone stated there are an average of 1,149,139 seats available monthly for arriving and departing passengers. In January, 785,867 passengers arrived or departed which means 32% of the seats available were empty. We do not need a new airport.

An airline executive stated recently, “he had never seen a city wanting to spend over a billion dollars to downsize their airport.” It is a scary situation when you start talking about turning our airport over to a local company and eventually the airlines. On page 9 (d) of the MOU it states "The Airlines have to approve any project over $5MM.” after the terminal is built. That means they will control expansion. They can limit gate expansion to keep other airlines out and prices up. We do not want this. Our aviation Department should own the airport, collect the revenues and pay the debt unless we decide to sell it. To let a company get control of it for $1.5 Billion is criminal.

Why don’t we : Put out a RFP (Request for Proposals) to remodel or build a new facility at KCI. Open it up to all comers. Anyone who wants to can get in the game. Proposals have to be in by November 1st. Then an independent team of architects, engineers and contractors will analyze the proposals, pick the best three or four and present them to the public. The public along with the City Council will pick the best plan. Everybody will be happy and the voters will have had a part in the process where now they feel they are being bullied.

We have been told on more than one occasion, Burns & McDonnell runs the water department. How’s that working for you?

Let’s do what’s right for Kansas City!

Citizens for Responsible Government
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1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

CFRG comes before the Council with sage advice.
Now, if they'll only listen to commonsense before blindly falling in line behind James.