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

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Cross-laminated timber can help the Northwest lead on the Green New Deal

By Seattle City Councilmember Abel Pacheco and his director of communications, Conor Bronsdon

We live in a region of pioneers and conservationists in a land built on the back of the timber industry. The idea of sustainable working forests fits not just our historical industrial strengths, it fits our regional ethos. In the Pacific Northwest, we want to live green. It's time for Seattle to take the lead on mass timber. With cross-laminated timber (CLT) and other mass timber products we can move to solve our housing crisis, develop needed density, and address climate change -- all while staying true to our regional culture and history.

By using CLT in the development of much-needed housing we will actively remove and store carbon from the atmosphere -- every cubic meter of timber growth captures one ton of carbon from the atmosphere. Construction would simultaneously emit less carbon.

Encouraging CLT usage could also jump-start stalled rural economies that have languished since the logging industry slowed down. Construction startup Katerra opened the nation's largest capacity CLT manufacturing facility in Spokane and Vaagen Brothers Lumber, which has been in Washington for four generations, is expanding CLT production operations in Colville. With the state making code changes fall that allow for the use of mass timber in buildings as tall as 18 stories, the region is primed to use CLT to address our affordable housing crisis.

Read the full op-ed in The Puget Sound Business Journal
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Prepare students for technical careers

By The Seattle Times editorial board

Once, all it took to secure a satisfying and well-paying job was a high school diploma and a good work ethic. But that story has largely changed.

That's why Washington's public schools must offer robust, high-quality Career and Technical Education programs to help prepare the state's vocationally minded students for career success.

A college education should be within reach of all students with the aptitude and interest to pursue a four-year degree, but not everyone wants to follow that path. At the same time, there is a high and consistent workforce demand for skilled tradespeople, without whom Washington's economy would shudder to a halt.

Read the full editorial in The Seattle Times.