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$136 million investment aims to enhance customer experience at MIA

$136 million investment aims to enhance customer experience at MIA
$136 million investment aims to enhance customer experience at MIA 02:42

MIAMI - The work of creating a modern Miami International Airport starts. 

On Tuesday morning, a groundbreaking ceremony occurred at the site of a new parking garage at the airport.  The $136 million investment aims to enhance the customer experience at MIA. 

"The future is now," shared Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

It goes beyond creating more parking spaces. Work is underway on the first of many significant projects within the Miami International Airport's $7 Billion Capital Improvement Program.

CBS News Miami reporter Joe Gorchow asked the MIA Director and CEO Ralphi Cutie why the parking garage was among the first projects in the CIP. 

"With all the growth we've seen over the last two years and the passenger volume, it's explosive," shared Cutie.  "We really need to account for parking."

During peak travel time, like holidays, MIA's garages are often less accessible than we see today.

"The permanent fix to our parking situation," added Cutie.

The visible rubble pile will transform into a seven-level parking garage, an extension of the Flamingo Garage.  It will add over 2,200 spaces.  The work is expected to be completed by 2026.

"The worst airport in the world," shared an MIA passenger named Tony.

The work on the new garage is little consolation for passengers flying through the airport now.  We saw signs scattered throughout garages and inside the airport, blocking access to elevators, escalators, and moving walkways. 

The Skytrain shuttling passengers remains closed for repairs for at least another month.

"Chaos after we arrived from St. Martin after a holiday," shared Tony.  "I have to use a wheelchair.  The wheelchairs arrived, but not for our flight, so our wheelchairs were embargoed.  It took an hour to an hour-and-a-half to get a wheelchair."

MIA works to improve the customer experience, with the county investing 681 million dollars in upgrades to all elevators, escalators, and moving walkways.

"Looking at averaging approximately 30 modernizations a year, while those modernizations are going on, we will also be performing major repairs to units that are down and do preventive maintenance," added Cutie.

And they're renovating more than 200 restrooms.

Next month, some airport employees will wear "I am MIA" vests.  You'll be able to ask them questions and give feedback on your experience as Jermaine did with us.

"Coming in off the street, you're ticket, gate, where should I go check in," said Jermaine.  "Versus where the gates are situated... Things like that could be improved."

"We want them to share with passengers that we are here to listen," said Levine Cava.  "Any concerns that might not have been addressed already.  Be able to give information."

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