The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) Board voted last week to approve a five-year capital program by designating approximately $2.6 billion to fund major projects as part of the Authority’s fiscal year 2019-2023 comprehensive financial plan. The program includes $1.9 billion for Logan Airport, $405 million for Conley Container Terminal and Flynn Cruiseport, $52 million for Hanscom Airport, and $43 million for Worcester Regional Airport.
Massport Acting CEO John Pranckevicius said, “Massport is making strategic investments to improve our infrastructure to meet the demands of a growing economy. These projects have been carefully vetted to support the needs of an increasing customer base, enhance the passenger experience and ensure public safety, while also continuing our long-standing commitment to sustainability and the community.”
Plans at Logan include the Terminal E Modernization project, which will combine new construction, renovations, and upgrades to the existing terminal built in 1974 to create a seamless experience for passengers from the curb to the plane. Seven additional gates will be added to the 12 already at Terminal E in order to accommodate more flights to a growing list of nonstop international destinations. Additional ticket counters, baggage carousels, and concessions to support the increased passenger volume will be built, along with a larger security checkpoint with faster Automated Screening Lanes (ASL). The new gates will also be able to serve larger and more energy-efficient aircraft.
The Board also approved funding for projects that would alleviate roadway congestion, encourage more HOV use, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions on campus. A new parking garage with 2,000 spaces will be built next to Terminal E. A roadway improvement project will help ease the traffic flow, especially during peak hours, between Terminals B and C. The Old Tower will be demolished to make way for a new roadway and a connector building between Terminals B and C. Terminal C’s departure deck and canopy area will also be reconfigured to increase curb length and travel lanes.
At the Conley Terminal, the Board approved $210 million dollars to restore a former maritime terminal at Berth 10 with a new modern facility. The project will require dredging a section of the harbor to support the construction of a new concrete wharf designed for 12,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) vessels. The wharf will also be equipped with three new larger Ship-to-Shore container cranes, which are required for loading and unloading containers by larger and taller vessels, to accommodate the increasing container volume. Last year, the Conley Terminal set a new record in overall container volume for the fourth year in a row, handling over 298,000 TEUs.
Across the Reserved Channel, improvements will also be made to the Flynn Cruiseport Boston. The capital program includes $10 million dollars to begin the permitting and design for an expanded facility with two homeport terminals and capacity to service larger ships. New energy efficient windows will be installed and a new automated gangway will be put in place to expedite the embarking and disembarking process for passengers as the demand for cruising continues to grow. During the 2018 cruise season, Flynn Cruiseport Boston welcomed a record 390,696 visitors to Boston.
A large portion of the funds set aside for Worcester and Hanscom airports will go towards safety improvements, including repairing or replacing runways, taxiways, and ramps. Over $9 million of capital program funds will be used at Worcester Airport for improvements to a portion of Runway 11-29 and to replace the engineered material arresting system (EMAS), which is a safety feature at both ends of that runway. Two new jet bridges will also be installed at Worcester to accommodate more passengers. This year, Worcester Airport will offer six daily flights by three major airlines. Hanscom will also receive $4.8 million for a new facility to house the Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting equipment and the CBP area. Hanscom Field is the general aviation reliever for Logan, and is the second busiest airport in New England with more than 100,000 operations annually.
Massport is also investing 14% of the capital program budget on technology that either improves security, promotes efficiency for customers, and/or reduces the Authority’s carbon footprint. The capital program includes money for facial recognition technology at Terminal E, for remote baggage check-in capability at Logan Express locations, for electric vehicle charging stations at the Rental Car Center and Central Garage, and for a rooftop solar panel system at Terminal C, capable of providing power to all new roadway lights with some surplus energy.