June 7, 2023

Legislation prompts re-do for airport plan

When three sites were proposed for a new airport last year, including two in rural Pierce County, lawmakers and community members were not happy.

Contending that the state’s methods to find a new airport site were flawed, Rep. Jake Fey of Tacoma proposed legislation that would restart the process. On May 16, Gov. Jay Inslee signed the bill into law.

A new approach

House Bill 1791 creates the Commercial Aviation Coordinating Work Group (CACWG), which replaces the Commercial Aviation Coordinating Committee (CACC). The new work group will address the state’s aviation needs over the next 20 years.

“The task of the new work group will be to identify the strengths and weaknesses of potential sites,” Fey said in a prepared statement following Senate passage of the bill. “The CACWG will not make a specific site recommendation.”

The new working group will be comprised of 19 members, including:

  • 4 representatives of commercial service airports and ports (2 must be based in eastern Washington).
  • 2 representatives from the airlines industry or businesses dependent upon air service.
  • 1 representative from a statewide business association.
  • 7 community members, including at least two representatives from each side of the state.

In addition to evaluating air travel needs, the new group will also work with a variety of partners, including government officials, the military and Indian tribes. It will also take the time necessary to consider the plethora of environmental issues associated with airport capacity expansion.

Want a recap of what went down last year that led to the airport plan do-over? You can read more about it on the EDB website.


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