FORT MYERS, Fla. Southwest Florida International Airport could get a lot bigger.
Gov. Rick Scott has proposed $15 million in spending to expand the terminal, and the design for a new, $62.3 million air traffic control tower will be unveiled next month.
Planning for the terminal expansion is in preliminary stages, but it would include added security checkpoints, public walkways, gates, operations areas and areas that allow passengers to move efficiently and safely through the airport.
The expansion, which would require legislative approval, would come after RSW experienced a 2-percent increase in travelers in 2017, setting a new record high.
RSW has been working on a new air traffic control tower for years, said Jeff Mulder, Lee County Port Authority Executive Director.
“You always want to try to be ahead of the curve when it comes to your future needs and so the control tower will be under construction next year,” Mulder said.
Some travelers realize the growth in Southwest Florida could justify airport expansion but aren’t yet ready for change.
“I just love how small this airport is, and how friendly it is, and how convenient it is,” Liz Bialkowski said. “And I would hate to see that change.”
The control tower will be under construction in 2018. Legislators will consider Scott’s budget proposal in the upcoming session.