(SARASOTA) Sarasota's Airport Authority passed a $21 million dollar budget Monday, but most passengers were talking about one thing: A dollar increase in short term parking rates.
The new fare brings the daily maximum toll from $13 to $14 dollars per day.
The airport CEO admits the increase it partially due to the fact the facility lost a third of its passengers last year when Airtrain Airlines pulled out.
Despite that, Rick Piccolo says SRQ has the lowest parking rates around.
We did some checking.
Short term parking here is the same as St. Pete/Clearwater's airport--and less than Tampa and Punta Gorda which max out at $20 and $24 per day for short-term rates respectively.
SRQ is not changing it's long-term rate of $11 per day, which is also less than the $15 charged per day at Tampa international.
Most passengers aren't aware of the short-term bump. Those we told weren't happy, like Donna Hillmyer:
"Oh rats, that's a bummer. That's all I have to say. It's too bad," she said.
"I think I'll be driving to Tampa," said Ginnie Evertt.
That's just the thing Piccolo doesn't want to hear--after already losing a share of the market to passengers willing to drive to save on air fares.
At Mondays' airport authority meeting, members approved a $21 million dollar budget that Piccolo says cut costs and includes a surplus.
"When you lose a business that was providing you with a third of your business, and you still have all these positive developments we were ready before it happened because we were budgeting for this for the 18 years I've been here," he said.
The new rate begins October 1st.