With a troubled economy, falling air ridership and statewide unemployment in the double-digits, it might seem to some like a peculiar time to build a new parking garage, car rental facility and train station across the street from T.F. Green Airport in Warwick. But on Aug. 13, officials showed off the long-planned project that is nearing its halfway-completion point.
R.I. Airport Corporation (RIAC) President Kevin Dillon said the $267 million intermodal transportation facility would spur economic development in the area, increase traffic at Green and become a shining example of integrated transportation.
“Our passenger drop here is very, very directly related to the economy and I think all of us believe at some point the economy is going to turn around and the airports that position themselves well during this time will reap the benefits,” Dillon told Providence Business News during a tour of the facility.
Dillon joined other public officials for a tour of the project that began as an idea more than a decade ago. Perhaps most noticeable is the 1,200-foot-long skywalk 35 feet in the air that crosses Post Road in Warwick. Though the skywalk’s center “bed” is now in place, much work remains there and on the rest of the project.
Eventually, moving sidewalks will ferry people to the terminal from a new car-rental facility, parking garage and commuter train station. Officials say it will be the closest train station to any airport in the country. Dillon said the project is on track to open in September 2010, on time and potentially under budget.
The R.I. Department of Transportation (DOT) says the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) will provide eight round trips a day to the station. And, if all goes according to plan, riders will make about 3,600 trips a day between a new station in Wickford and Providence. Others will continue on to Boston.
DOT Director Mike Lewis said the state has reached an agreement with Amtrak to use its rails and anticipates reaching an agreement with the MBTA when its board meets in September.