Florida Governor Rick Scott is committing $194 million in state funds to the overall master plan of Tampa International Airport, which will create more than 7,000 new jobs and help to support 1,000 already in place. The Gateway Center will expand the capacity of TIA by creating a 2.3 million square foot rental car center with a transit stop and constructing a 1.3 mile Automated People Mover (APM) which will connect the economy parking garage and rental car center to the terminal. The announcement came Wednesday afternoon at TPA, where Governor Scott spoke to a room full business leaders and elected officials.
The largest expansion in TPA’s history will start this year. Phase one includes a new 1.3 mile monorail from the airport to a new rental car facility located near the airport’s entrance. This addition will free up thousands of parking spaces and ease crowding along the drop-off/pick-up loops since taxis and other car services will now do business further south. This decongestion phase will be followed by two additional phases that call for demolishing the Tampa Airport Marriot and current control tower to allow for northern expansion consisting of terminals, a new international curbside and two additional people movers.
The Governor’s investments and commitments for Tampa International Airport include:
- $18.7 million for construction is in the FY 2014-2015 budget
- $175.3 million for future construction will be included in the department’s requested Work Program
Phase one of TPA will bring passengers from a flight to the airport exit, but that is not where the progress ends. Westshore Intermodal Center, a new transportation hub for premium transit, is funded and waiting on the Department of Transportation (DOT) to decide the best place to build. In the coming months, DOT along with business and community leaders will narrow down the four proposed locations to the one that best suits local businesses and future development. TPA’s people mover will be extended to bring people straight from the airport to Westshore where they can take advantage of two malls, hundreds of hotels and restaurants and have access to thousands of businesses.
Future plans will also call for rapid bus transit, trolley and passenger rail to come together at the Westshore Intermodal Center and connect the region. From Pinellas beaches, over the Howard Frankland and into downtown Tampa, the Westshore Intermodal Center will be the first hub in what transportation advocates hope to be a series of transit advances.
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