Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

Reaching the World

From Florida, it’s possible to reach the world and beyond. With its interconnected web of highways, railways, airports and seaports plus the Spaceport at Cape Canaveral Florida is domestically and internationally connected in virtually every conceivable way.

Non-stop scheduled air service is available from Florida to more than 160 domestic and international destinations.
Florida airports generate nearly $90 billion annually in economic activity and support more than 1 million jobs.

Into the Air

With 20 commercial airports, Florida offers some of the nation’s most convenient flight options to domestic and international destinations. Stimulus dollars made available by passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 are helping many airports in Florida upgrade their facilities. For example:
  • Melbourne International Airport plans to rehabilitate existing taxiways, taxilanes and aprons and replace runway and taxiway edge lights and path indicators at both ends of its “5-23” runway.
  • Tallahassee Regional Airport will upgrade its security system and conduct a condition analysis of runways, taxiways and other pavements with an eye toward future repairs and enhancements.
  • Charlotte County Airport in Punta Gorda is looking to improve its main ramp.
  • Sarasota Bradenton International Airport will improve airport safety by rehabilitating the pavement on its crosswind runway; a similar project was completed on the main runway in 2007.
  • St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport plans significant improvements to its terminal as well as airside apron rehabilitation.

Air travel in Florida

» Panama City-Bay County International
The biggest news in Florida’s air transportation sector this year is the scheduled May 2010 opening of the Panama City-Bay County International Airport, the first international airport to be built in the U.S. since September 11, 2001, and the first to feature a LEED-certified terminal. Constructed over two years at a total cost of $318 million from federal, state and local sources, the airport is expected to host 600,000 passengers annually by 2020.

» Miami International (MIA)
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recognized its operations at Miami International Airport as being best in the nation during 2008. On average, more than 90% of the nearly 34 million passengers who pass through MIA each year wait less than 10 minutes to be processed through security. MIA recently added an in-line baggage system, new checkpoints in the south terminal and at two concourses and installed advanced technology X-rays and whole body imaging systems.

» Tampa International (TPA)
The $8 million in stimulus funds awarded to TPA in March 2009 will go toward the full $52 million needed to construct an elevated taxiway connecting existing terminal facilities with the planned new North Terminal Complex; construction is expected to begin in fall 2009. In other developments, TPA ranked 1st nationwide in overall quality of USA airports in the 2008 U.S. and International Airlines Survey by Zagat, the New York-based travel and dining guides publisher.

» Orlando International (MCO)
With more than 35 million travelers annually, Orlando International is the busiest passenger airport in Florida. In January 2009, MCO expanded its global connections with the addition of JetBlue’s daily non-stop service to Bogota, Colombia, thus providing a direct link to the second largest Hispanic market in central Florida and an anticipated annual economic impact of $44 million to the community.

» Gainesville Regional
Energy-efficient lighting, a more open layout and expanded secured waiting areas are among the visible improvements passengers now enjoy thanks to the $7-million Phase II terminal renovation completed in 2008. Behind the scenes, approximately $2.1 million has been put toward new heating, air conditioning and electrical work.

Florida’s International & Commercial Airports
Charlotte County Airport flypgd.com
Daytona Beach International flydaytonafirst.com
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International broward.org/airport
Gainesville Regional gra-gnv.com
Jacksonville International jia.aero
Key West International keywestinternational airport.com
Melbourne International mlbair.com
Miami International miami-airport.com
Naples Municipal flynaples.com
Northwest Florida Regional flyvps.com
Orlando International orlandoairports.net
Orlando Sanford International orlandosanford airport.com
Palm Beach International pbia.org
Panama City-Bay County International pcairport.com
Pensacola Regional flypensacola.com
Sarasota Bradenton International srq-airport.com
Southwest Florida International flylcpa.com
St. Petersburg-Clearwater International fly2pie.com
Tallahassee Regional flytallahassee.com
Tampa International tampaairport.com
70% of Florida’s international commerce moves by water.
Every Florida business is within 90 miles of at least one of 14 deepwater ports.

Sailing Ahead

Ongoing improvements at Florida’s 14 deepwater seaports keep domestic and international cargo flowing smoothly into and out of the state.

» Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale)
Construction is on schedule for the opening of the world’s largest single-ship cruise terminal at Port Everglades in fall 2009. At a cost of $75 million, the 240,000-square-foot Terminal 18 will feature 90 check-in counters, 3,000 seats and a children’s play area for guests waiting to embark on Royal Caribbean International’s new 5,400-passenger sister ships Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, launching from Port Everglades in December 2009 and December 2010, respectively.

» Port of Miami
The Florida Department of Transportation expects in October 2009 to issue a notice to proceed on design and construction of a $1.5-billion tunnel linking the Port of Miami to the MacArthur Causeway and I-395. The project, which is expected to generate hundreds of jobs, will help ease the passage of cargo flowing through the port and lessen congestion along surrounding streets.

» Port of Tampa
In June 2009, the Florida Department of Transportation announced plans to build a dedicated truck ramp from the Port of Tampa to the Interstate highway system as part of the $600-million Interstate 4—Crosstown Expressway Connector project that is scheduled for completion in 2014. Meanwhile, work will be completed by November 2009 on 14.5 acres of additional paved storage, bringing the port’s total container terminal area to 40 acres.

» Port of Jacksonville
Representatives from JAXPORT and the Hanjin Shipping Company of Seoul, South Korea, have signed a 30-year lease agreement for construction of a 90-acre container facility at the Dames Point Marine Terminal. The $300-million project is expected to open in late 2011. In July 2009, JAXPORT received a $3-million grant from the U.S. DOT to upgrade the St. Johns River Ferry gantry ramp systems; the manual mechanisms at each ferry terminal ramp will be replaced with more reliable hydraulic systems.

» Port Manatee
Port Manatee’s stature as an emerging container port took a leap forward in May 2009 when officials from the port and the Panama Canal Authority signed a two-year strategic alliance to encourage trade between the two and establish a platform for collaborative marketing and information sharing. The move comes as part of Port Manatee’s ongoing efforts to increase its ability to handle the larger “post-Panamax” ships that are expected to call when the Panama Canal’s $5.24-billion expansion is completed in 2014.

» Port Canaveral
Royal Caribbean’s new Freedom of the Seas — the world’s largest cruise ship with a carrying capacity of 5,728 passengers and crew — began sailing out of Port Canaveral in May 2009. In anticipation of this and the arrival of two new Disney cruise ships in 2011, the port has launched a $7.8-million project to widen and deepen the West Turning Basin.

Port Everglades
Florida seaports, including Port Everglades, are getting ready to handle “post-Panamax” ships. [Photo: Port Everglades]

Florida’s Seaports
Port Canaveral
Port Everglades
Port Manatee
Port of Fernandina
Port of Fort Pierce
Port of Jacksonville
Port of Key West
Port of Miami-Dade
Port of Palm Beach
Port of Pensacola
Port of St. Petersburg
Port of Tampa
Port Panama City
Port St. Joe Marina psjmarina.com
Air travel in Florida

Out of This World

As NASA celebrated the 40th anniversary of the first lunar landing in July 2009, a presidential panel continued to review several scenarios for America’s space program, one of which would extend the shuttle program through 2014. At present, the shuttles are scheduled to be retired at the end of 2010, and the target date for launching the next generation of piloted spacecraft is March 2015. In the meantime, at Kennedy Space Center, work is under way to transition Launch Complex 39B for the new Ares and Orion spacecraft; Firing Room 1 in the Launch Control Center is being renovated to support future Constellation program launches.

Florida’s Spaceport at Cape Canaveral is one of only five commercially licensed spaceports in the United States. Florida hosts nearly one-third of all commercial space activity worldwide as well as civil and military space operations, with primary emphasis on payload processing, launch operations and spaceport range technologies.

State highways with 42,079 lane miles and 6,503 bridges
Local roads with 107,482 lane miles and 5,061 bridges

Driving Forward

Florida boasts a 12,066-mile state highway system and nearly 100,000 miles of other public roads offering easy access to regional and national markets and ready links to airports and seaports. And the condition of Florida’s roads is among the nation’s best. According to a study released in May 2009 by the American Association of State Highways and Transportation, Florida tied for third — just behind Georgia and Nevada — for roads in good shape.

» Interstate 75
Construction continues on 30 miles of I-75 between Collier and Lee counties in southwest Florida. Begun in 2007, the project to widen this heavily traveled stretch of road from four lanes to six is slated for completion in April 2010.

» Gandy Boulevard
$20 million worth of improvements along Gandy Boulevard, a major artery linking Hillsborough and Pinellas counties across Tampa Bay, is slated for completion in early fall 2009. The project, which converted Gandy in south Tampa from a 5-lane highway with a center turn lane to a 4-lane divided highway with a 30-foot-wide median, includes new landscaping, sidewalks and lighting, plus three electric message signs — two eastbound, one westbound — to warn drivers of traffic delays and predict destination arrival times.

» First Coast Outer Beltway
Plans for this proposed four-lane limited access toll road in Florida’s Northeast region may be moving into the fast lane now that new legislation has ruled that the contractor selected to build the 46.5-mile stretch will not have to pay property taxes on the land. The beltway, which will link I-95 in St. Johns County with I-10 in Duval County, will include 13 new interchanges and a bridge across the St. Johns River.

» Florida Turnpike
Florida’s superhighway is eliminating cash collection and replacing it with an all-electronic alternative that will allow for non-stop travel along a 47-mile stretch near Homestead in southeast Florida. Timed to coincide with similar efforts by the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, the $35.6-million project includes the conversion of 14 ramp toll plazas and the construction of new tolling structures to accommodate new toll collection equipment; anticipated completion date: 2011.

The Skyway Bridge

SunPass: Convenient and Cost Effective for 10 Years

Sun PassFlorida’s prepaid statewide highway toll program, SunPass, turned 10 in April 2009. One of the largest and most successful prepaid electronic toll programs in the country, SunPass has grown from four lanes in Broward County and 5,000 transponders to a vast network of SunPass-only lanes, express lanes and SunPass-only ramps serving more than 4 million customers statewide. SunPass makes traveling along Florida’s 460 miles of toll highways quick, convenient and cost effective; drivers who elect to purchase the SunPass receive a 25% discount on most Florida tolls.

25 major rail terminals
15 line-haul railroads
17 bulk transfer facilities

Connecting by Rail

Florida moves by rail; 2,796 miles of main route rail lines criss-cross the state to connect major business centers and distribution nodes. Florida’s rail transportation system includes two Class I railroads, two regional railroads, 10 local railroads and one railroad specializing in switching and terminals.

» SunRail
The proposed commuter rail line connecting Volusia County and metropolitan Orlando got another shot in the arm in July 2009. CSX Corporation, which owns the 61.5 miles of track between DeLand and Poinciana on which the SunRail trains will travel, agreed to extend the deadline for approving the sale of those tracks by another six months. Backers of the commuter rail plan are hopeful that a renegotiation of liability issues and the availability of more federal dollars up front to help pay for the $420-million project will sway lawmakers to vote in favor of SunRail this time around.

» CSX Corporation
As part of its participation in a voluntary U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program called Climate Leaders, Jacksonville-based CSX Corporation has announced plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in its train operations by 8% per revenue ton mile by 2011. Officials say the move will reduce CO2 emissions by 2.4 million tons, which is the equivalent of taking 441,000 cars off the road each year or burning 5.6 million fewer barrels of oil.

» High-Speed Rail
When the Federal Railroad Administration begins awarding $8 billion dollars in grants under the economic-stimulus program in late 2009 to states with viable plans for building high-speed rail lines, Florida stands a good chance of landing one. A proposal currently on the table calls for a high-speed rail line linking Orlando and Tampa. The proposed bullet train would carry riders from downtown Tampa to Orlando International Airport in about an hour, traveling at average speeds of 90 miles per hour on tracks laid in the median of Interstate 4 and along the Beachline Expressway.