A groundbreaking ceremony at the construction site of Bradley International Airport prompted celebration Gov. Ned Lamont, Connecticut Airport Authority officials and state leaders Thursday.
The opening ceremony marks the start of the new 1.4 million-square-foot transportation center spanning across 13.4 acres right outside of the airport.
New features include accessible rental car services across from Terminal A. The addition replaces the current off-airport rental car facilities, eliminating the need for shuttles and centralizing Avis, Enterprise and Hertz.
Kevin Dillon is the executive director of Connecticut’s Airport Authority.
“We’re going to be able to conveniently get people in and out of Bradley’s Airport,” Dillon said. “It’s a huge customer service improvement."
The new transportation hub brings more than 830 new public parking spots. More than half the parking slots will be covered parking.
It’s a major upgrade according to frequent flyer Melissa Szczycinksi.
“A lot of times their commuters lots are full,” said Szczycinksi. “It’ll be nice to have a parking lot on site instead of having to be transported in from one of the locations around here.”
The other concern is access to public transportation. Norman and Gigi St. Peter say public transportation is a necessity for those who don’t have the luxury to drive in.
“The addition means more public transportation getting people to the airport and getting them to Hartford or whatever city they’re going to,” said Gigi St. Peter.
The new facility is set to bring in more frequency buses connecting to the airport and CTrail line through regional bus services.
Dillon says tax payers won’t have to worry about the price tag.
“Every time you rent a car here at Bradley airport you pay what's called a customer facility charge all of those monies go to satisfying the debt,” said Dillon. "It's not on the backs of the taxpayers, it's on the users of Bradley Airport."
Instead the focus is on shifting the state’s economy and driving more travelers to the airport.
“The center will allow businesses to relocate into this area and that means jobs for folks,” said Dillon. “We're thinking ahead here because as the airport continues to grow, we want to be a main economic driver for the entire region."
The construction phase will be completed over the next three years (tentatively 2022) and will cost approximately $210 million, which is being entirely financed by customer facility charge revenues.