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GSP moving toward automated transport

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by Matthew Clark
Published Dec. 1, 2015

The Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport is moving one step closer to an automated transportation system connecting various parts of the airport campus located near Greer.

Dave Edwards, president and CEO of GSP, said a consultant has been hired by the airport to look at technical specifications and design needs for an automated transit system that could potentially transport passengers from the airport parking to the terminal and back.

“That should really parlay into (a request for proposal) that may go out in April or May,” Edwards said.

The request for proposal will include what infrastructure is required and, more importantly, how much a project of that magnitude will cost.

“We are taking a very methodical approach to this,” Edwards said. “If this looks good, we’ll go on to the next phase and start to get bids on the project.”

He said the target cost of the project is about $20 million, but that is just an estimate.

“We want to see what the providers come back with,” Edwards said. “If it is (in that price range), it will drive us right into the next phase.”

The airport is in the middle of a $125 million renovation of the terminal that includes moving ticket counters, changing the security checkpoints and adding amenities such as additional restaurants in the terminal. The project is in the middle of the biggest phase where ticket counters are being constructed and the security checkpoint is being constructed.

Edwards unveiled the new automated transportation development during a conference on innovative transportation and smart technology put on by Ten at the Top. The conference centered on the county’s exploration into creating an automated transit system connecting parts of the city of Greenville. The county’s process hit a stumbling block when the Greenville County Economic Development Corp. decided to terminate the procurement process in July citing “too little planning” in the process.

Edwards said a system like what could potentially be at GSP can be a catalyst for a similar venture being looked at by the county.

“You need someone to be successful on a smaller scale,” Edwards said. “We can do it, and we don’t have to worry about things like upsetting a residential community or seek out right of ways.

“Hopefully, we can be a showcase for the community.”

Matthew Clark can be reached at 864-235-5677, ext. 107, or @matthewclark76 on Twitter.

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