- Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority officials announced Sunday their plans for "BNA Vision," a $1.2 billion expansion and renovation of Nashville International Airport.
- The five-to-seven-year project includes lobby, parking, concourse and screening lane upgrades, as well as a possible hotel at the airport site.
- Officials said no tax dollars will be used for the project, which will instead be funded through state and federal grants, passenger facility charges, bonds and other airport funding sources.
Airport authorities pointed to Nashville's booming tourism industry and increasing number of passengers using the airport as motives behind the massive project. "We are experiencing this rapid growth firsthand as we set new air passenger records every week, month and year," Rob Wigington, MNAA president and CEO, said in a release.
In July, President Barack Obama signed a 15-month, stopgap Federal Airport Administration bill that will continue airport construction grants and spending for other FAA programs until September 2017. The bills keep airport construction funding steady at the 2016 level of $3.35 billion. Lawmakers are still working on developing a longer-term bill.
Several airports across the U.S. are undergoing or gearing up for massive renovation, due largely to the fact that passenger traffic has increased to the point that current facilities can no longer meet their needs. The San Francisco airport is getting a $2.4 billion facelift with its eight-year Terminal 1 replacement and renovation. Salt Lake City also has a $2.6 billion airport expansion in progress, with revenue bonds, airline passenger taxes and rental car taxes funding the project.
In New York, LaGuardia Airport is replacing its outdated terminal through a public-private partnership with Skanska-led LaGuardia Gateway Partners and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Skanska said the $4 billion terminal replacement — which is scheduled for completion in 2021 — marks the company's largest project ever.
However, all of these projects pale in comparison to Atlanta's 20-year, $6 billion renovation and expansion of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the busiest airport in the world with 101.5 million passengers annually. That project includes a new $393 million terminal, a $943 million runway, canopies over traffic lanes and sidewalks, a complete interior renovation and a 400-room hotel.