Tampa International Airport unveils big changes - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Tampa International Airport unveils big changes

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Big changes are in store at Tampa International Airport. 

Airport CEO Joe Lopano unveiled his master plan for the future to the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority Board Thursday morning.  The board did vote to approve Lopano's vision.

"We want to create something that will be world class," Lopano told the board. "Not something that we bench mark here in Tampa, or in Florida, something that will be measured on a world-class basis."

Highlights of the plan include a people mover connecting the main terminal to a newly consolidated rental car facility, a new international terminal, a new security checkpoint in the main terminal and links to regional transportation networks.

The entire plan would cost $2.5 billion, and should be completed by 2028.

Lopano said airports need to focus on growth in responsible ways, so he's focused on using and improving TIA's current design.

"The guys who designed this airport had the courage to do it right, so that's the legacy we've received, and that's where we're going to go, as well," he said.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn approves of the plan.  He said he even hopes down the road the plan would include light rail, and a station in the Westshore District.

"That's more jobs, more opportunities, more wealth creation," Buckhorn said after the presentation. "So growing this airport, especially on an international front, is critical to Tampa's success." 

The plan takes into account 20 years of projected growth, and the ability to accommodate 34.7 million passengers in the future according to a press release from Tampa International Airport.

Work on the first phase of the master plan, which includes the people mover connecting the main terminal to the new parking facility, is scheduled to begin right away and be completed by the fall of 2017.

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