As the final KCI decision looms, questions arise around AECOM

  

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Questions have been raised surrounding AECOM, one of the companies who submitted an unsolicited bid on the KCI expansion project.

The City of Kansas City is in the final phases of determining which firm will be selected for a $964 million airport expansion project, which totals the amount a group of airlines KCI has agreed to. The proposals are to upgrade the three-terminals, construct a parking garage, and have 35 gates that can be expanded to 42.

The city is currently conducting a competitive bid process. Kansas City-based Burns and McDonnell being involved since the inception of the project, with a large grassroots following supporting the “Hometown Team.” However, AECOM has argued that Burns and McDonnell are not global enough and do not have the expertise to complete the project.

The most recent question surround AECOM’s management of a prison construction project in Michigan. Construction of what was originally billed as a $200 million, 2,000-bed jail began in 2011.

That estimate increased to $300 million before the project was halted in June 2013 after cost estimates had soared to $391 million. At the time construction was halted on the project, Wayne County, Michigan, had already spent $154 million on it.

Aerial of stalled AECOM jail site

In October 2013, Wayne County sued AECOM as the construction managers of the jail project, claiming breach of contract. It was in March 2016 when the Wayne County commission granted AECOM a second extension, giving them until April 8 to provide concept plans and estimates for completing the project.

Ultimately, the County Commission reached a settlement in their lawsuit with AECOM.

“The commission’s decision to approve the settlement agreement with AECOM and Ghafari puts us one step closer to removing the eyesore that the unfinished jail site has become,” Wayne County Executive Warren Evans said in a news release.

Recently Wayne County, Michigan began considering a new proposal totally hundreds of millions of dollars that would include completely abandoning the unfinished jail site and beginning a completely new jail project at another location.

The unfinished jail site AECOM managed continues to cost the County $1 million each month to maintain and secure the site.

Outside of Burns and McDonnell and AECOM, there are also two other firms who have submitted proposals, including one Australian based firm.

“I’m confident that the members of our city council will ask the necessary tough questions of all bidders,” Rep. Greg Razer said. “I know if I was in their place, I’d want to make sure what has happened other places doesn’t happen here.”

The city is expected to reach a decision in the coming weeks.

Rachael Herndon is the editor at The Missouri Times, but also produces This Week in Missouri Politics and publishes Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in 2014, returning to political reporting after working as a campaign and legislative staffer.

Rachael studied at the University of Missouri – Columbia. She lives in Jefferson City with her husband, Brandon, and their two children.

To contact Rachael, email rachael@themissouritimes.com, or via Twitter @TheRachDunn.