December 2, 2019
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More airport, transit options needed to handle Puget Sound growth



Demand for air service will increase significantly and several airports may be needed to handle the Puget Sound's strong growth, the Puget Sound Journal of Business reports. Reporter Andrew McIntosh talked to Josh Brown, the executive director of the Puget Sound Regional Council, who's leading a study on airport capacity needs in the coming decades.

"Part of what we're doing here is to educate a whole new set and generation of policymakers as they prepare to manage aviation growth," Brown told the newspaper.

One of the key takeaways so far is that even with all of the planned investments at Sea-Tac Airport, it won't meet the region's demand for passenger air service by 2050, Brown said. Also, drive times to the airport "will get substantially worse for most of our residents." Everett's newly-opened Paine Field Passenger Terminal helps, but more is needed.

General aviation demand, which includes business jet travel and flight school instruction, among other categories, will increase one-third by 2050. Demand for air cargo will more than double by 2050, from 552,000 metric tons to 1.8 million metric tons, as well. Some cities have cargo only airports, the story noted, and others have floated the idea of a joint military-public airport at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The study's findings will be used to inform a state committee that will select future airport sites in the state. The committee's plans call for a new airport to be built, opened, and online by 2040, Brown told the newspaper. He also highlighted the importance of transit, and getting people to the new airport, or airports.

"I think there's an opportunity here to think about doing it better than just opening a new facility. We've got to figure (out) how to solve its impacts," Brown said.

Infrastructure investments are a major priority for AWB. AWB and a coalition of cities, counties and ports have identified more than $222 billion in infrastructure needs for Washington. This includes $13.6 billion for aviation and $146.5 billion for highways and local roads.

For more information about aviation, please contact Mike Ennis at MikeE@awb.org.



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