WINDSOR LOCKS — A new rental car hub is set to open at Bradley International Airport, providing a centralized and seamless facility for travelers who used to have to ride shuttles throughout the surrounding area in order to rent a vehicle.
State, federal, and municipal leaders held a ceremonial ribbon-cutting event on Thursday at the 13-acre, $210 million facility, which was financed completely by rental car fees, not taxpayer dollars.
The facility is scheduled to be open to the public in mid-July, according to airport officials.
Rather than rental car agencies being scattered around the airport, the new facility, adjacent to Terminal A, is designed to quickly meet the needs of car renters.
The project also includes 830 additional parking spaces, with more than half covered and within walking distance of Terminal A. Officials say there will be bus and rail service coming to the hub in the near future.
“We’re going to have a lot more connections,” Department of Transportation Commission Joseph Giulietti said.
The transportation center boasts multi-level customer service stations, and on-site cleaning and fueling for speedy service.
“It’s a major customer service improvement,” Connecticut Airport Authority Executive Director Kevin Dillon said, adding that there is “a huge environmental plus” as the new transportation center will remove about 250,000 shuttle trips each year.
The facility also houses more than 50 electric vehicle charging stations.
Lawmakers noted that construction of the facility continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and came in on time and on budget.
Gov. Ned Lamont noted that construction costs would have ballooned due to inflation if construction had been halted during the pandemic.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said $64 million in federal funding during the pandemic enabled Bradley to remain operational, while not tapping into funds set aside for the new rental car hub.
U.S. Sen. Christopher Murphy said many travelers’ first experience when coming to Connecticut is renting a car, including business owners scouting out the state for potential landing spots.
“This is going to pay immediate dividends when it comes to marketing the state,” he said.
“This is our welcome center,” Lamont said. “Speed matters; it makes a big difference.”
Aside from serving just Connecticut, U.S. Rep. John B. Larson noted that the airport also serves western Massachusetts, calling Bradley a “regional juggernaut.”
He praised the Lamont administration for its commitment to transportation improvements throughout the state.
“It all starts with the governor,” Larson said. “Without vision, there is no victory.”