Tampa International Airport gets cash for expansion - FOX 13 News

Tampa International Airport gets cash for expansion

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Frequent flyer Freddy Bonet can tell you how too much airport traffic can ruin a business trip.

"I want to park right away and get to my terminal without any issues," said Bonet, who travels to Miami nearly every week for business.

But as the Tampa airport expects the number of passengers to double from 17 to 34 million over 25 years, they're concerned those "issue"-less trips will be harder to come by.

The curbside is already muddied up by rental car traffic from the garage next door.

"Anybody who has traveled here knows what it's like, how congested it gets here," said airport communications director Janet Zink.

The main terminal will expand to accommodate more people.

And Wednesday, Gov. Rick Scott announced $194 million for a new tram - that they call a "people mover" - to get flyers to a new rental car depot, which will be more than a mile away.

"If that happens, it will turn into Miami airport," said Bonet. "Today, it took me 20 minutes to go from my terminal to the rental place in Miami."

But there is another reason they want the rental cars out of here. They take up 2,400 spaces that could be used for long-term parking.

Last year, they had to close long term parking eight times because it was so full of rental cars.

"Infrastructure matters," said Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn. "Infrastructure means jobs, it means opportunities."

Officials say the project will create at least 7,000 construction jobs and more than 1,200 permanent ones.

Leaders say it's necessary to keep the Tampa-area economy growing and attracting tourists.

The airport insists the travel time from terminal to the new rental car center will only be three minutes.

Bonet hopes they're right.

"Even when they're building new stuff, everything seems to flow perfectly," he said.

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