Article by: Kevin Spear

For full story visit: Orlando Sentinel

Orlando airport officials voted unanimously Wednesday to increase the price of a new terminal project to $2.15 billion from $1.8 billion.

Airport authorities attributed the higher cost to several factors: the region’s surging economy and inflation; the price of construction; a more expensive baggage system; and improved technology.

“We can’t control the cost escalation,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said, urging other members of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority to support the increase. “That’s just a fact of what’s going on in our community, which is a robust construction industry.”

No groundbreaking date has been set for the new south terminal, which would be south of the airport’s main campus and connected by shuttle trains.

The building would have soaring ceilings, sophisticated gates for airplane access and initially offer 16 gates for the biggest passenger jets as well as narrow-body planes. The terminal is envisioned to ultimately have more than 100 gates.

Also during the meeting, the authority set rules for the arrival of Uber and Lyft as soon as July 1 for pickups. A new state law this year nullifies most local rules for the ride-share services, which prohibited them from picking up passengers from the airport.

But the airport was able to determine where Uber and Lyft can meet passengers.

The airport board also approved a fee of $5.80 for each pickup by ride-share cars. Uber had asked for a delay on setting the fee.

“We will continue negotiating with staff to ensure an imminent launch of ride-sharing,” Uber spokesman Javi Correoso said after the board made its decision.

In another matter, the authority approved an increase in the cost of parking at the airport’s crowded garages, which were full and closed for part of Wednesday.

Effective next year, the cost of parking in the garages adjoining the terminal will increase from $3 per hour to $4 per hour, while the maximum daily rate will increase from $17 to $19.