PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – Big changes are coming to Sky Harbor International Airport as part of its 20-year strategic plan, which was approved by the City of Phoenix and is now under review by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Much about the Phoenix area has changed since the city bought Sky Harbor more than 80 years ago.
"They didn't know we'd be the fastest growing city in the United States," Deborah Ostreicher, the assistant airport director, said during a Wednesday media tour.
And nobody could know that "America's Friendliest Airport," would have an annual economic impact of $38 billion and provide 58,000 jobs. But it does.
"We need to be strategic about how we think about an airport that's located essentially in the center of the city that wasn't originally planned for 45 million passengers a year," Ostreicher explained.
That means doing some rearranging.
Terminal 2, which is old and outdated, will be torn down. Terminal 3 will be modernized. Cargo operations and the Air National Guard will be allowed to expand with cargo ops moving to the north side of the airport.
"Creating a space for cargo to be modernized and have more room so that, as the Valley continues to develop, things that need to be shipped out, and people move here and need things shipped in, we have the capacity to handle those things," Ostreicher said.
The plan includes adjusting roads to increase traffic flows and security. It will also create more gates and space in the terminals.
Where is the money for this coming from? You will not be footing the bill.
"No local tax dollars are used at the airport," Ostreicher said. "The things that are paid for at the airport are paid for by user fees, bonds, grants. All of the things that we're doing in this $5.7 billion proposed program are funded in the ways I just described."
Even though no tax dollars will be spent, each element of the project will go through the city's approval process.
[APP USERS: Click here to see current layout of Sky Harbor)