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Bradley International Airport’s growth as an economic catalyst marked a milestone July 13 with the opening of a new ground transportation center.
The Connecticut Airport Authority officially opened the $210 million facility after five years of construction.
The center brings rental car access and more than 800 new parking spaces within walking distance of the terminal.
Authority officials also heralded the center’s public transportation access, which will continue to improve as the center develops.
“With the introduction of the ground transportation center, we have created a more efficient and overall better and more welcoming passenger experience,” CAA executive director Kevin Dillon said.
“After five years of planning and construction, we are thrilled to showcase this new amenity to our travelers.”
Located next to the airport’s main terminal, the center is five floors and spans more than 13 acres.
“This is the first experience with Connecticut visitors will have when they land,” CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima said.
“Having the ability to get a rental car in a state-of-the-art facility without a transfer off property will give visitors a strong and inviting first impression, as well as provide more convenient parking to residents that support the airport’s growth.”
A customer service building, and turnaround facility sit inside the center.
The nine rental car brands can fuel and wash cars without having to leave the center, making the turnaround time to rent cars quicker.
“Enhanced mobile application, counter by-pass, automated exit gates, and electric vehicle opportunities are just some of the benefits customers see,” Avis head of airports Anne Morrison said.
With more than four dozen charging stations, rental companies are expecting a larger percentage of their available vehicles will be electric by 2024.
While the new transportation center allocated a majority of its space to rental car operations, it is also looking to be an access point for buses.
The airport already relocated charter bus operations to ease traffic congestion in the arrivals section of the airport.
Looking ahead, the center will welcome buses connecting the airport to the CTRail line and regional bus services.
“This is the first step towards simplifying public transportation routes to and from the airport,” DiPentima said.
“We must continue these efforts to connect Bradley to the city of Hartford.”
The authority did not use taxpayer funds to pay for the facility, which was financed through customer facility charge revenues.
The regional transportation center is the CAA’s most prominent project to date.
Established in 2011 to develop and improve operations at airports across the state, CAA has 11 members on its board.
The authority has had success bringing in new airlines and expanding operations within Bradley International Airport and Tweed.
Bradley is also in line to benefit from the federal infrastructure package.
Construction on a 80,000-square-foot-facility to screen checked bags will begin in the fall.
Authority officials said it will free up space in the ticketing lobby for passengers or future airline gates.
“The region’s economic future can be positively impacted by Bradley’s success,” DiPentima said.