Phase 2 expansion of TIA to cost $91 million more than original plan

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA)—There will be bigger changes in addition to the planned changes at Tampa International Airport.

Phase two of the airport’s $2.6 billion expansion will cost $91 milllion more than expected, and much of the original projet has already been eliminated.

The airport initially planned to reposition the air traffic control tower and tear down the Marriott Hotel in order to add gates to Airside C and make room for a consolidated security checkpoint and a new international terminal.

But according to Janet Zink, the Assistant Vice President of Media and Government Relations, this is not going to happen.

“We also saw some cost escalation with moving forward with that phase two plan that were associated with the Marriott and the Air Traffic Control tower, and so we decided not to go forward with those projects,” she said.

Zink says there is no need for additional gates at Airside C. Airlines are using bigger planes and number of passengers continues to grow, but the number of actual flights has not increased.

For passengers’ convenience, T.I.A. abandoned plans for a consolidated security checkpoint.

“We opted not to do that to maintain our design with the dispersed security checkpoints, which allows for faster security screening,” said Zink.

Nonetheless the price tag on phase two jumped from $452 million to $543 million dollars.  Janet Zink points out in addition to escalating costs, some elements of phase three were moved into phase two, such as curbside expansion, widening lanes and adding a taxiway.

With those cutbacks alone, the price tag on phase two of the expansion jumps from $452 million to $543 million dollars.

Eventually, the airport would like to add an international terminal, sometime down the road.

A good amount of money will go towards developing land for a Gateway Center located near the economy parking garate and post office.

They also want to build a couple hotels, an office building, a gas station and a convenience store.

But how exactly will they pay for phase two?

“Concessions, parking, fees that we charge to airlines,” said Ms. Zink. Currently airlines pay about $5.37 for every passenger at T.I.A. The airport intends to jack this up to $8.24 per passenger, cutting airline profits.

“Even at 8 dollars it’s highly competitive,” said Ms. Zink. “There are airports in other parts of the country that are $20 and $50 dollar C.P.E.’s (Costs Per Enplanement). Even at $8 dollars we’re very competitive.”

At the end of the day, and about $1.5 billion dollars later, when the first two phases are complete, the airport will have added much more gate capacity.

Tampa International Airport is expected to ask the Hillsborough Aviation Authority on Thursday to increase its capital budget by $132 million dollars to get phase two rolling.

If you know of something that should be investigation, call our Target 8 Helpline at 1-800-338-0808, or email Steve Andrews at sandrews@wfla.com.

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