On Jan. 30, the Columbus Regional Airport Authority approved a $2 fee increase on rental cars, the Columbus Business Journal reports.
The fee, which will be charged daily for up to five days, will fund the planning and construction of an $85 million consolidated rental facility.
Columbus International Airport is currently experiencing record numbers of passengers and traffic congestion is expected to increase. As a result, says airport spokesman David Whitaker, it is important that Port Columbus International Airport create a car rental complex away from its property to free up parking spaces near the terminal and expand rental operations, the Columbus Business Journal reports.
The fee, which takes effect March 1, is expected to generate $3 million a year. The initial earnings will fund placement studies and planning costs.
The measure also gives the CRAA the power to raise the fee based on the amount of money needed for the project and could be increased as construction begins. Airport officials hope to begin building the complex in 2009 and finish in 2011.
Rental companies have voiced their support for the measure. Blaine Byers, owner of the Hertz Corp. franchise at the airport and also vice chairman of the Ohio Car Rental Association, says that the fee seems appropriate, especially since it is being committed to the rental complex.
One of the stipulations of the measure ensures that even amid fee hikes, the fee money is prohibited from being used on anything else but development of the complex, reports the Columbus Business Journal.
The current tax in Columbus includes a $3.46 surcharge to pay for portions of the construction of the current main airport garage, built in 1999, and there are also sales taxes and levies for vehicle licensing.