Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Airport renovations set tone for regional transit

The billion-dollar remake of Tampa International Airport is a strong show of confidence in the Tampa Bay region. The upgrade will create thousands of jobs, churn millions of dollars through the local economy and help the airport maintain its competitive edge. It also could be a rallying point for regional cooperation and a model for improving the area's transportation system.

The board that oversees the airport, the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, approved plans last week for the $1 billion makeover. The renovations will bring a lighter, sleeker style to the main terminal. Storefronts will be relocated to the outside perimeter, freeing up the center areas and opening the sight lines, creating a less cluttered feel that should make it easier for passengers to move around.

The new design will expand and modernize the third-floor terminal, enabling the airport to bring in newer restaurants and shops while freeing up traffic areas and maximizing its space. The improvements to taxiway, service road and baggage areas will enable the airport to grow while maintaining the quality that carriers expect. Moving the rental car operations out of the main terminal and into a new consolidated facility on the south end will reduce traffic around the property and extend the life of the 43-year-old main building. And the new, automated people mover between the new rental car facility and the terminal will create a more efficient way of getting visitors to and from their flights.

The plan is a sound approach for preparing the airport to grow without taking on the debt of a second terminal. With 3,300 acres, TIA needs to be creative. Orlando International Airport, by comparison, has 13,300 acres. By making better use of the main terminal, and opening a revenue stream near the new car facility, the airport is continuing to focus on aviation-related service while also improving its bottom line. And the plan still allows for more ambitious expansion later on.

As one of the largest public infrastructure projects in Tampa Bay, the plan represents a huge investment in the future. Over the next two decades, officials say, the project will yield $370 million in new tourism business. That will expose millions to the bay area's workforce, beaches and cultural amenities. The expansion also offers a more sophisticated approach to transportation planning. Once completed, the airport's plan will be a key part of helping travelers to move across a seamless system of planes, cars, buses, trams and (one day) rail to get to downtown Tampa, West Shore, downtown St. Petersburg and elsewhere. This is a major contribution to the region's quality of life, and area leaders need to help the airport meet its exciting goals.

Comments
Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital has begun the important work of rebuilding trust with its patients and the community following revelations of medical errors and other problems at its Heart Institute. CEO Dr. Jonathan Ellen candidly acknowledges...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Big Sugar remains king in Florida. Just three of the state’s 27 House members voted for an amendment to the farm bill late Thursday that would have started unwinding the needless government supports for sugar that gouge taxpayers. Predictably, the am...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

This is music to the ears. Members of the Florida Orchestra will introduce at-risk students to the violin this summer at some Hillsborough recreation centers. For free.An $80,000 grant to the University Area Community Development Corp. will pay for s...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

In barely six weeks, President Donald Trump has gone from threatening to impose $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods to extending a lifeline to ZTE, a Chinese cell phone company that violated U.S. sanctions by doing business with Iran and North K...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Lots of teenagers are walking together this week in Hillsborough County, a practice they’ve grown accustomed to during this remarkable school year.We can only hope they keep walking for the rest of their lives.Tens of thousands of them this week are ...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

A state investigation raises even more concern about medical errors at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and the venerable St. Petersburg institution’s lack of candor to the community. Regulators have determined the hospital broke Florida law by ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/17/18
Editorial: St. Petersburg recycling worth the effort despite cost issues

Editorial: St. Petersburg recycling worth the effort despite cost issues

St. Petersburg’s 3-year-old recycling program has reached an undesirable tipping point, with operating costs exceeding the income from selling the recyclable materials. The shift is driven by falling commodity prices and new policies in China that cu...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: HUD’s flawed plan to raise rents on poor people

Editorial: HUD’s flawed plan to raise rents on poor people

Housing Secretary Ben Carson has a surefire way to reduce the waiting lists for public housing: Charge more to people who already live there. Hitting a family living in poverty with rent increases of $100 or more a month would force more people onto ...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/18/18