TAMPA, FL (WFLA) – As you arrive at Tampa International airport you can see the changes that are taking place. Construction work is obvious just about everywhere. Inside the airport, crews are busy beginning to transform the main terminal that will include sixty-five new shops and restaurants.
Much of the work is going on behind barriers and temporary walls that are out of sight of travelers. Carol Cohon with Aviation Authority said, “I think they will really appreciate it everyone already likes our airport, I think this is going to make it that much better, I think when we are all through with the construction people are going to be thrilled.”
The massive airport expansion is not cheap. The three phases of the work will cost nearly a billion dollars. All of the money comes from a passenger facility charge that is tacked onto each ticket and stays in each community.
But the airport’s director would like to see each airport set that fee, which is currently capped by the FAA.
Joe Lopano said, “This fee has been $4.50 since the year 2000, that’s 15 years ago, you know what it’s worth now, 2 bucks, the price of concrete has not been the same as the year 2000, so our ability to fund infrastructure has been diminished.”
Local Washington lawmakers would also like to see changes to benefit airports making improvements like TIA.
Especially at a time when the number of visitors to this area is up. Congresswoman Kathy Castor said, “if we are going to maintain that leadership and those numbers and increasing travelers, we have to make sure they have a wonderful experience when they arrive.”
The massive expansion project, which will create thousands of jobs is expected to finished by the end of 2017.