Legislation (Senate Bill 5370) establishing an airport commission tasked with identifying up to six possible sites for future commercial aviation was signed by Governor Inslee this week.

“The time for studies is over, now we need to make some tough decisions,” said Senator Karen Keiser, the prime sponsor of the legislation.

Sea-Tac International Airport is one of the fastest growing airports in the nation, and is also the smallest international airport in the country. In 2009, state estimates projected 30 million passengers would travel through Sea-Tac. However, by 2018, passenger travel reached nearly 50 million in a single year.

“This is a great step forward to facing the reality that we need more statewide commercial aviation choices.  Our economy and our residents will deserve good decisions on these critical choices,” Keiser said. “If you’ve flown in or out of Sea-Tac International Airport recently you know we already face flight delays, gate limitations, and terminal congestion as everyday events. Additional commercial airport options—whether it is brand new or a build-out of existing facilities — makes sense for our state, our economy and our citizens.”

The new commission must make recommendations to additional commercial airport facilities for our state by 2021.

Senate Bill 5370 is supported by the Washington Ports Association and the Port of Seattle Commissioners as well as the airport-impacted cities of Burien, SeaTac and Des Moines.

Scott Schaefer

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