Make us your home page
Instagram

Tampa airport's shuttle trams arrive from Japan at Port Tampa Bay (w/video)

TAMPA — The trains arrived by boat and are headed to the airport.

Twelve train cars, which cost $1.9 million each, make up the SkyConnect people-mover shuttle system currently being built as part of the $1 billion phase one renovation at Tampa International Airport. The tram cars arrived at Port Tampa Bay from Mitsubishi's plant in Japan Monday morning aboard an auto liner ship.

The cars were rolled off the ship and will be installed at the airport by its manufacturer, Mitsubishi, this week. The people-mover shuttle system will connect a new rental car facility and the economy parking garage to the main terminal and will be operational early next year, eliminating the need for passengers to catch a bus.

Previous Coverage: Here's an updated look inside the $1 billion construction project at Tampa International Airport

"These trains represent the future of the Tampa International Airport, and continues on our legacy of innovation," said Joe Lopano, CEO of the Tampa airport, at an unveiling ceremony Monday. Gov. Rick Scott was among the many local, regional and state officials who attended. "We're writing the next chapter of the airport. And we're still growing. We are on par to have the most passengers this year in our history," Lopano added.

The first phase one of the airport's master plan renovation, which has been three years in the making, is coming to a close with the arrival of the SkyConnect train cars this year. It was the first major renovation to the airport since the terminal was built in 1971. The improvements — which include adding a slew of new retailers and restaurants to the terminals, building a new rental car facility that's double in size and adding the new shuttle system — will help the airport accommodate 35 million passengers a year, or double the annual amount recorded in 2013. The project has been slightly delayed through the year, but remains under budget. TIA issued bonds, used passenger facility fee collections and $194 million from Florida Department of Transportation to finance the project.

Earlier this year the airport came under fire by state legislators for its spending on the renovation. The airport is currently undergoing an audit related to the project.

Airport officials asked the public to vote on a name for the new people-mover system, which is how the moniker "SkyConnect" was chosen. The trams feature images of native Florida birds.

Previous Coverage: Tampa International Airport morphing into a mini-city unto itself

The people-mover train will also be the connector from the main terminal to the Gateway development area, the centerpiece of the $543 million phase two of Tampa International Airport's master plan, a 17-acre commercial development which includes plans for up to two hotels, an eight-story, 240,000-square-foot office building, a 20,000-square-foot retail strip and a gas station with a convenience store.

Contact Justine Griffin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin.

SkyConnect By The Numbers:

1.4-miles : length of people mover track

12 cars: Number of tram cars that will be used in two-car configurations

2.7 million: (estimated) number of car trips taken off airport roads due to shuttle service

$1.9 million: Cost per tram car

$417 million: Cost for entire people mover system, including stations.

6,900: Construction workers to build the people mover track and stations.

3.4 million: Hours worked during construction period

28 million: Pounds of steel poured to create the people-mover track and rental car facility

50 miles per hour: Maximum train speed

56 passengers: Capacity per car

2,500 passengers: Total number of people a car can move per hour per direction.

5 minutes: Trip length from rental car center to main terminal, including a stop at the economy parking garage.

Six birds: Featured birds on trams include a black skimmer, great egret, roseate spoonbill, white ibis, white pelican and a bald eagle.

13 months: Time to build and test the trams.

10,190 miles: Distance the cars traveled from Japan to Port Tampa Bay.

Tampa airport's shuttle trams arrive from Japan at Port Tampa Bay (w/video) 07/17/17 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 18, 2017 12:36am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Equifax CEO Richard Smith steps down amid hacking scandal

    Personal Finance

    The chief executive of Equifax, the troubled credit reporting agency that suffered a massive data breach that affected as many as 143 million people, will retire, effective Tuesday, according to a statement by the company.

    Richard Smith, chief executive of Equifax, the troubled credit reporting agency that suffered a massive data breach that affected as many as 143 million people, will reportedly retire effective Tuesday.
[File photo: Joey Ivansco/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP]
  2. Bass Pro acquires Cabela's for $4 billion

    Retail

    Bass Pro Shops has acquired competitor Cabela's for a reported $4 billion. Bass Pro indicated it is seeking to appeal to all "outdoor enthusiasts" with the move, roping in hunting customers from Cabela's.

    Bass Pro Shops acquired Cabela's for $4 billion, Bass Pro announced Tuesday. | [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  3. Tampa International named among least expensive airports

    News

    TAMPA — Florida airports apparently have a knack for getting it done cheaply.

    According to RewardExpert, Tampa International Airport is the fifth least expensive domestic airport. 
[CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times
 file photo]

  4. Tampa-based vXchnge secures $200M loan to expand operations

    Corporate

    TAMPA — Tampa-based vXchnge, which operates data centers in 14 metro areas, has secured a loan for roughly $200 million for "major expansions and enhancements."

    Tampa-based vXchnge, a data center provider, secured a $200 million loan. Pictured is CEO Keith Olsen. | [Courtesy of vXchnge]
  5. No toll lanes north of downtown Tampa in three of four interstate proposals

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.

    Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman discusses the new interstate options with V.M. Ybor resident Chris Vela (left), Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and HNTB consultant Chloe Coney during a Tampa Bay Express meeting Monday night at the Barrymore Hotel. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]