(January 19, 2017) Workers on Tampa International Airport’s expansion hung the final beam connecting the Airport’s new people-mover station to the rental car center – a historic milestone more than two years in the making.
At a ceremony celebrating this “Topping Out,” HCAA Board members, Airport employees, contractors, lawmakers, local dignitaries and hundreds of construction workers signed the all-white beam and watched it as it was gently lifted into place.
“Today is really a day of saying thanks,” said Airport CEO Joe Lopano, during the Tuesday morning celebration.
Lopano named a long list of people who made the Topping Out possible, including the HCAA Board, lawmakers, construction project managers, safety officials, contractors, rental car companies, and, of course, the workers themselves.
More than 5,600 workers have logged 2.3 million work hours on the rental car center and 1.4-mile SkyConnect that connects it to the Economy Garage and Main Terminal.
“For years to come, you’ll be able to say, ‘My name is on that beam.’ Hopefully, you’ll be driving by and you’ll be able to tell your grandchildren that your name is on this building.”
The 2.6-million square-foot rental car center, which is scheduled to be finished later this year, will house 16 different rental car brands, giving passengers access to more brands than ever before. The new center will help decongest the Airport’s roadways by removing 2.7 million rental car trips per year and will increase the ease of renting a vehicle during peak periods.
HCAA Chairman Robert Watkins said the Airport’s $1 billion expansion is a major boon to the local economy.
“These projects have a huge economic impact on the region and once they’re complete will be a welcome benefit for millions of passengers each year,” he said.
FDOT District 7 Secretary Paul Steinman highlighted the important role the Airport plays in the community.
“This is a big day for Tampa,” he said. “If the region is going to grow and expand, we need a first-class airport.”