Tampa, FL airport officials unveil details for $543M phase of $2.3B master plan

Dive Brief:

  • The Hillsborough County (FL) Aviation Authority announced details Tuesday of the next $543 million phase of Tampa International Airport's $2.3 billion construction master plan, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
  • The work includes widening the main road to the airport, in addition to adding an extra exit lane and an airport express drop-off spot. Central to the expansion is the Gateway, a 17-acre commercial development that will feature a transit hub, two hotels, an eight-story office building, a gas station-convenience store and a 20,000-square-foot retail strip center that could include restaurants or a pet hotel.
  • HCAA officials said they plan to finance construction through a 2018 bond issue and an increase in the per-passenger user fee it charges airlines. Construction on the phase is scheduled to begin in 2019, with completion slated for 2023.    

Dive Insight:

The massive, three-phase project is the airport's first major renovation since it was built in 1971. Still underway is the airport's $971 million first phase, which includes restaurants, retail, a new people mover system and a 2.6-million-square-foot rental car center. Construction on the third phase is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2023 and will feature a new 16-gate terminal that can handle both international and domestic flights. That phase will cost approximately $798 million.

Like the Tampa project, many of the nation's airports are decades-old and undergoing huge facelifts to modernize and keep pace with an increase in air travel. Ronald Reagan National Airport in Arlington, VA, is getting ready for a $1 billion transformation that includes a $245 million security checkpoint area and a $408 million concourse.

A similar initiative is underway at San Francisco's airport, which is planning an eight-year, $2.4 billion terminal replacement. Salt Lake City's airport overhaul and addition, which is already underway, will cost an estimated $2.6 billion, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport is adding a third runway for $649 million and Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is in the first phase of a 20-year, $6 billion renovation and expansion.

These plans, however, represent only a fraction of what modernizing and upgrading the nation's airports would cost. A recent Airports Council International—North America report indicated that it would take about $100 billion to make the necessary improvements to all U.S. airports.

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