At least city officials admit they have the proverbial “uphill climb” to convince us that the Kansas City International Airport passenger terminals need to be torn down for an expensive new portal. There’s some wisdom to be found. Otherwise, applause was scant in most quarters last week as the KCI Terminal Advisory Group recommended a new single terminal. That followed a year of public meetings. Many passengers, including frequent fliers, said they prefer the airport’s current convenience from curb to gate. An official with the Transportation Safety Administration told the group that the current configuration offered security advantages over a single building. Airlines in the past have questioned expenses from a new airport raising prices for traveler tickets. The group declined the option of renovating existing terminals. That’s the option many would prefer, including me. Business leaders and some city officials have argued for a new terminal. They’d like federal money on top of local money rolling through the construction and banking industry. They hear an airpork oink. There is a segment that would like something flashier. Also some officials have argued for a terminal with more shopping and eateries. On the other hand, why do they make shopping malls? Plus there’s this new thing called the Internet where people shop. Most people who go to an airport can’t wait to get out of one and to the destination or home. So the non-binding vote of the advisory group, essentially a recommendation, kicks the issue toward the Kansas City Council. The council has pledged to let voters help decide financing and plans. This is all going to be unfolding over the next few years. Big money tends to be more patient and unrelenting over time than citizens opposing a controversial project. That’s probably a key point in the plan for proponents. They figure they will just outlast and wear down opponents. Some voters might approve a plan just to make the pain of argumentative contemplation go away. An odd component to a vote on KCI is that probably only Kansas City voters would cast ballots on a plan and financing. The airport is a city-owned and managed property. Yet the traveling public comes from many other zip codes besides those serving the big city. They might hate a long walk to a gate in a big box lined with shops offering things they don’t need, but an opinion in the coffee shop is the only sway they will have. Kansas City is loathed by some due to City Hall bureaucracy, an earnings tax, clogged traffic in older neighborhoods. Yet some things the city does very well, like parks and boulevards. The city’s fire and police departments are cornerstones for metro public safety. A lot is at stake for the city in the airport issue. It’s not just about a terminal and traveler convenience. This is also about whether common sense and public opinion has any place in modern governance. The advisory group decision does nothing to raise confidence in Kansas City.