Tamapa Plans to Add More Airport Parking

TAMPA - Tampa International Airport intends to double its economy garage parking by Thanksgiving 2008 by adding a six-story structure with 5,600 spaces next to the economy garage, officials said Thursday.

The airport also is moving forward with plans to design rail transit stations at the main terminal, and the new North Terminal is expected to be built by about 2015.

"It's all based on continued growth," airport Director Louis Miller said after Thursday's monthly meeting of the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority. "If something changes, we can change plans."

In October, the airport reversed a mild five-month slide in the number of departing passengers over previous-year figures, and it continued its year-over-year growth in November, Miller said. The airport is expected to handle almost 20 million passengers this year.

Airlines have been trimming flights to save on fuel costs, but the Tampa Bay area's population and business growth continue to make the airport a growth market.

The new parking garage would increase the airport's garage spaces to 21,344. Using paved and grass overflow lots and squeezing more cars into the garages would add an additional 4,677 spaces during periods of peak demand.

On Thursday, the aviation authority board authorized staff to begin negotiations with Gresham, Smith and Partners for a contract to design the structure.

Airport officials also approved Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas of Tampa to develop plans for a one- or two-level rail station at the east end of the main terminal building. The objective there and in plans for a new terminal complex would be to accommodate any type of rail or fixed guideway transit system that might be developed in the Bay area.

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