Charlotte Plans $300 Million Airport Renovation

Airport officials in Charlotte, N.C., have proposed a $300 million makeover for Charlotte Douglas International Airport, according to local media reports. Planned for completion over the course of the next three to five years, the proposal calls for an expanded terminal, an underground pedestrian tunnel and an automated luggage system.

According to Charlotte Douglas Director Jerry Orr, who said the airport is the country's eighth busiest, the improvements will help Charlotte keep up with growing demand from an increasing number of travelers.

"This is not a 'build it and they will come,'" he said, according to WSOC Television. "They're already here—35 million of them a year."

In addition to expanded departures and arrivals terminals, Orr said the airport plans to build a new parking garage that would double the number of spaces currently available and allow it to bring rental cars—currently parked in satellite lots—on-site.

According to Orr, the airport improvements will be paid for using money collected from airport fees—parking fees and a $3 passenger surcharge—instead of taxpayer dollars. Charlotte, he said, has already applied for a $95 million grant from the Transportation Security Administration to pay for a new baggage screening system.

The $300 million proposal comes on the heels of an existing $300 million improvement project—which includes a new $173 million runway scheduled to open in 2010—construction on which is currently wrapping up.