WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. (WWLP) – Bradley International Airport Thursday celebrated the highly anticipated opening of it’s new ground transportation center.

Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut is opening a new $210 million ground transportation center on July 13. U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont were among the politicians who attended a ribbon cutting ceremony for the center, which will offer travelers improved access to rental cars and more parking.

“This is our welcome center. A lot of people get their first introduction to the amazing state of Connecticut coming in through this fabulous facility,” said Governor Lamont.

The center, which was financed by rental car user fees, will add 830 new parking spots and will be environmentally friendly as it will eliminate more than a quarter million estimated shuttle trips per year. Before the construction of the center, passengers would get their baggage and then take a shuttle bus to the rental car centers. Now the rental cars are a covered, short, and convenient walk away.

“This should operate under convenience. Once you land, you know, the operations that you need to proceed from there should be right there. So I land and I get my car. Makes life easier, I’m happy,” said Kimberly Handler of Virginia.

As for the land currently occupied by the rental car companies on Route 75, the Connecticut Airport Authority says they intend to reserve some for additional cargo development and the construction of travel plazas.

The following information was provided by the Connecticut Airport Authority that includes key elements of the new Ground Transportation Center:

Convenient Rental Car Services

The rental car operations for nine brands will be consolidated under one roof in this facility, including vehicle pick-up and drop-off, car storage, cleaning, and fueling. Passenger access is available within a short and sheltered walking distance from the main terminal, Terminal A. Passengers will no longer need to use a shuttle to access their rental cars.

Additional Public Parking

The facility will add 830 new public parking spots, increasing the airport’s parking availability by ten percent. More than half of those spaces will offer covered parking, and the remainder will be surface parking spots next to the facility. All new spots are within a short walking distance to Terminal A.

Improved Access to Public Transportation

In addition to housing charter bus traffic, the facility will also include a dedicated area that, in the future, will be used to receive high-frequency buses connecting the airport to the CTRail line, as well as regional bus services.

Courtesy: Connecticut Airport Authority

AAA predicts 3.5 million Americans will travel by plane this coming holiday despite the increase in travelers not everyone has seen heavy turbulence at the airport.

“The Ground Transportation Center will dramatically improve the passenger experience at Bradley International Airport for both arrivals and departures,” said Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont. “Those of us who live in Connecticut know how convenient it is to fly in and out of Bradley. It was one of our best-kept secrets, but now that secret is out. This new facility, built without the use of taxpayer funds, is key to Bradley’s position as an essential economic driver for our state and is already helping to bring new airlines and destinations that benefit our residents and businesses.”

“Today, we celebrate a significant milestone in Bradley International Airport’s history,” said Connecticut Airport Authority Board of Directors Chair Tony Sheridan. “Despite the setbacks of the COVID-19 pandemic, the construction of the airport’s new Ground Transportation Center has been achieved on time and on budget. Without a doubt, this has been a massive undertaking, and we extend our gratitude to all our partners on the successful completion of this major passenger enhancement.”

“CTDOT is committed to expanding connections to various modes of public transportation to get people where they need to go safely and efficiently,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Joe Giulietti. “By expanding express bus routes and increasing rail services in the corridor, we are creating a convenient and seamless travel experience throughout Connecticut.”

“With the opening of the Ground Transportation Center, we have made a significant investment in the passenger experience at Bradley International Airport,” said Connecticut Airport Authority Executive Director Kevin A. Dillon, A.A.E. “In addition to transforming the airport footprint, the facility will streamline operations, save time for passengers, improve access to public transportation, while also eliminating traffic congestion and easing access to our arrivals and departures levels.”