The Kansas City (MO) Council selection committee tasked with finding a team to build the $1 billion terminal at the Kansas City International Airport (KCI) has selected a group led by Bethesda, MD–based Edgemoor Infrastructure and Real Estate, according to The Kansas City Star.
The committee based its decision to go with the Edgemoor group — which includes Bethesda-based Clark Construction, Des Moines, IA–based Weitz Company and Kansas City–based Clarkson Construction — on the relatively low cost of its proposal options, namely a no-equity, 100%-debt financing opportunity, as well as the group's depth of experience with airport and other infrastructure projects.
The decision comes as somewhat of a surprise, as consortia led by AECOM and local engineering firm Burns & McDonnell were widely considered to be the front-runners. The council must officially approve the selection committee's pick, and Kansas City residents must vote the deal in at the ballot box this November.
Just last week, the airlines that fly in and out of KCI endorsed Burns & McDonnell as their choice to head up the terminal redevelopment efforts, saying they would be willing to work with whichever group the city council picked.
Burns & McDonnell was the firm that originally suggested a private-sector plan to replace the airport's three existing terminals with one modern facility. AECOM's subsequent overtures led the city council to open up the process to bids from other groups.
Financing large infrastructure or public projects has long been a challenge for local governments, especially if they are trying to carry out more than one project at a time. This is where the public-private partnership (P3) delivery method has been able to gain traction more recently.
Last year, Larry Casey, senior vice president of market making at Skanska, told Construction Dive that many local-level government agencies were still recovering from the Great Recession and didn't have the financial wherewithal to finance their laundry lists of projects themselves. P3s can provide certainty of cost and schedule length, he said, which helps local governments deliver those projects to taxpayers in a more reliable manner.
That was the case with the Long Beach (CA) Civic Center project. The private consortium developing the new complex is undertaking the majority of the financing responsibilities, and that has allowed the city to spread its available funds across multiple projects. In an interview with Construction Dive last year, William Eliopoulos, a partner with Rutan & Tucker, in California, said the city's payments to the private group are roughly equivalent to what the city was paying for maintenance on the old building but instead they get a brand new one.