Expectations Fly High in the Greater Daytona Region
Daytona Beach International Airport embarks on a major upgrade.
The 16-city Greater Daytona Region is at the epicenter of one of the most booming business environments in central Florida.
The region connects to the world via a highly developed transportation system that includes an international airport, five general aviation airports and one fly-in facility.
Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB) is one of the nation’s most user-friendly airports, serving some 750,000 passengers annually. A Florida Department of Transportation survey found the airport generated an economic impact of more than $2.1 billion in fiscal 2019, which is a $1 billion increase from just five years earlier.
The airport today offers direct service to Charlotte and New York City via American Airlines, to Atlanta via Delta Air Lines and seasonal flights to Toronto via Sunwing Airlines.
In April 2019, the Volusia County Council approved a contract for a $14 million renovation project at DAB, the first major upgrade since the county-owned airport opened in 1992.
“Renovations started in June 2019 and construction will go into 2020, with most of the focus aimed toward improvements to the terminal building,â€ says Jay Cassens, DAB director of business development.
“Our overall passenger traffic has increased 80% since 2009, so upgrades are needed.”
Cassens says renovations in the terminal will include updating all technology, installing new carpets and terrazzo tile floors, overhead lighting, a water fountain feature and ticket counters, and refurbishing the escalators.
“We will also construct a restaurant and bar area, and the terminal will add modern electronic signage and LED arrivaland- departure reader boards,â€ he says. “In addition, lobby seating will include cellphone charging stations.”
Fourth-Busiest in Florida
Cassens points out that DAB is currently the fourth-busiest airport in Florida for flight operations, in part because there are three fixed-base operators at the airfield. A major part of the three operators’ duties is providing flight training services and mechanic support for corporate aircraft.
“The airport is also currently in the midst of a $40 million taxiway improvement project that will be completed in the summer of 2020, and around that time, we will begin a $5 million project to renovate our public parking lots,â€ Cassens says. “DAB also has 328 acres at the southside of the airfield that are being developed, and we are trying to market that property to aviation and aerospace companies to locate here.”
Let It Ride
Transportation advantages play a key role in the Greater Daytona Region’s success.
The Greater Daytona Region offers a number of transportation advantages, including access to Interstate 4 and I-95, one of the main north-south corridors in the eastern U.S. Major improvements are underway on these interstates and other key arteries.
Freight rail service is offered by Class I carriers CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern and short line carrier Florida East Coast Railway. Residents can ride the SunRail commuter train to Orlando from a stop in DeBary and Amtrak from a station in DeLand.
The region is also in close proximity to major seaports in Jacksonville, 90 miles to the north, Port Canaveral, 75 miles to the south, and the Port of Tampa via I-4.
A Daytona Beach-based group that helps ensure local input is heard for all state and federal transportation projects in Volusia County is the River to Sea Transportation Planning Organization (TPO).
“At the top of our priority list these days is to eventually upgrade Clyde Morris Boulevard in Daytona Beach between Beville Road and International Speedway Boulevard,â€ says Lois Bollenback, River to Sea TPO executive director.
“Clyde Morris is a road with much potential for corporate park development, so we’ve been working with the city of Daytona Beach and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to make sure all their plans are supported before moving forward.”
Bollenback says two other future planned projects will be improvements to International Speedway Boulevard and upgrades to the LPGA Boulevard exit at I-95.
“Our organization also works on coordinating traffic signals, scheduling warning signs, coordinating technology data on emergency vehicles and much more,â€ she says. “Our mission is to get the most efficiency out of this entire region’s transportation system.”
Growth is Coming
R. Sans Lassiter is president of LTG, an Ormond Beachbased company that does transportation planning, traffic engineering and road design for Volusia County as well as Flagler and Brevard counties. LTG was recently awarded a contract to provide roadway engineering analysis and design services for the city of Deltona.
“I’ve seen the transportation system expand significantly in the Greater Daytona Region during my 40 years in this business, and Volusia County is one of the main regions feeling the growth impact that is occurring in all of Florida,â€ Lassiter says. “Volusia County roads are in good shape, but traffic is increasing. LTG monitors transportation needs along the area’s interstates, county roads and city roads.”
Counties and cities often hire companies like LTG to do their engineering and design work for roads to keep county and city full-time staff levels lower.
“We’re also seeing a huge increase in truck traffic due to shipping increases caused by the widening of the Panama Canal, which allows bigger ships to bring goods to nearby Florida ports, such as Port Canaveral,â€ Lassiter says. “Yes, growth is coming to Volusia County – period. There’s nothing anyone can to do stop it as long as we continue to have sunshiny days, beautiful beaches and an increasingly diverse economy.”