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Tampa airport to unveil 20-year, $4.2 billion plan

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Published:   |   Updated: November 19, 2013 at 08:09 AM

TAMPA — Tampa International Airport officials on Thursday will unveil a 20-year business plan with nearly $4.2 billion in expenditures, focusing on extending the life of the main terminal, alleviating user congestion and guiding airport business development south and east.

A session to obtain public input is scheduled at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the boardroom on the third floor of the main airport terminal.

The business plan includes about $2.5 billion in projects from the master plan update approved in April to increase airport capacity, and more than $1.6 billion largely for maintenance projects, Assistant Vice President of Media and Government Relations Janet Zink said.

The business plan remedies issues underlying a project deferred in 2009 for a $1 billion new North Terminal first phase designed to open when the current terminal reached capacity at 25 million annual passengers, expected in 2015 before the recession and travel slump took hold.

Now the main terminal with enhancements is expected to be viable until annual passenger traffic increases from the current 17 million to 34 million, which is expected in 2041, along with other airport improvements if the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority can secure funding.

“The ... plan offers several advantages over building a new North Terminal,” Zink said. “It will solve our immediate congestion problems, allow the rental car companies to grow and create new business opportunities on our south property through real estate development.

“Also, the North Terminal would have increased our operating and maintenance costs by at least $27 million a year (while) this approach increases our O&M costs by less than $5 million.”

The 20-year business plan is contingent on aviation authority-generated funds, access to capital markets, sufficient passenger and rental car fees, and state and federal grants.

Passenger revenue charges assessed on each airline ticket could increase from $4.50 to $8, while the cost the airport charges airlines per passenger enplanement could increase from $4.99 in 2012 to $7.14 by 2023.

The business plan assumes the aviation authority will receive $754.4 million in grants from the Florida Department of Transportation in addition to about $237.7 million in FDOT annual funding between 2014 and 2033.

“There is no guarantee we will receive funding from the Florida Department of Transportation, but we are hopeful,” Zink said. “Investment in airport infrastructure is essential if we want to continue to grow our state’s tourism industry.”

The business plan is divided into three “horizons”:

• 2014-2018: $1.5 billion in expenditures that includes a $943 million “decongestion phase. A key element is relocating the rental car facility from the main terminal parking garage at the airport’s entrance, connected with the main terminal by a 1.3-mile automated people mover, similar to those running between the main terminal and airside terminals where aircraft park. Eventually the people mover could be extended into the Westshore area, where a multimodal transportation center is envisioned, that could handle bus and rail transit.

• 2019-2023: $600 million for continued development of the south development area.

• 2024-2033: $2.1 billion in development focusing on main terminal and airside expansion, including $863 million in projects from annual capital improvements.

tjackovics@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7817

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