New $1.3 Billion Airport Terminal Being Considered in Columbus
Representatives from the John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH) announced today that the next steps are being taken to study the development of a new main terminal facility. Planning for the new terminal began over a year ago, but new studies are about to begin to determine the capacity of the current facilities and to better determine the scope and budget of the project.
“The current 1950s-built terminal has been expanded and renovated over time but at a certain point we will reach diminishing returns,” stated Elaine Roberts, President & CEO at CMH. “By the mid-2020s we could be serving around nine million passengers a year, which is when we expect to face capacity issues including unreasonably long checkpoint lines, overcrowded facilities and a shortage of airline space.”
CMH just completed an extensive $80 million renovation and modernization project earlier this year, which Roberts says “buys us another 10 years” in the current building. A new terminal — which would include a new parking garage and utility upgrades — is preliminarily expected to cost approximately $1.3 billion. Roberts expects that the renovations would be paid for without local tax dollars, and would instead be funded with a combination of cash reserves, Federal Aviation Administration funds, and new passenger fees.
“While a new terminal has long been a part of the airport’s master plan, our intention has always been to open the new terminal when warranted by demand and not a moment sooner,” added Roberts. “This approach allows us to fully maximize the life of our current terminal and provides additional time to establish funding sources for the new terminal.”
In 2014, a special task force was convened under then-Mayor Michael Colman to study the possibility of a rail-transit connection linking the Greater Columbus Convention Center with CMH. Earlier this year, COTA launched their AirConnect service — a new express bus line that performs the same function. Today’s news release provided no update on future transit options or opportunities.
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