Another airport in Seattle? There’s a push for it

BURIEN, Wash. -- First Sea-Tac. Soon Paine Field.

Now someplace else?

There's a push to bring another commercial airport to the Seattle area, with some hoping it could be flying passengers in just 20 years.

A move for an additional airport is in the very early stages, but it's happening on a couple of fronts.

A bill proposed in the state legislature would create a state commercial aviation coordinating commission. Part of the commission's job would be to build a timeline for a new commercial airport to be finished by the year 2040.

The legislation would find six possible locations by 2020, and have the locations narrowed to two by 2021. No preliminary locations were mentioned in the bill.

Cities around Sea-Tac Airport are also urging for another passenger airport. On Monday, the Burien City Council passed a resolution endorsing the Senate bill. The council also revamped the Burien Airport Committee, as well as studies for noise and pollution around Sea-Tac.

Burien City Councilmember Nancy Tosta is the head of the airport committee. She said residents are sick of the increased traffic at Sea-Tac, and don't like the prospect of more to come.

"We've had a lot of residents concerned about the noise, potential health impacts and the growth that's going on at Sea-Tac," Tosta said.

The council has asked the Port of Seattle, the state and the federal government to reconsider noise impacts.

Tosta said the rapid growth at Sea-Tac has raised awareness recently as airlines have increased their flight paths.

"The growth is going to continue, that's the future concern," Tosta said.

A second airport around Seattle is needed not only to help Burien residents, but to spur further economic development, Tosta said. The constraints of Sea-Tac are quickly becoming realized and an additional airport is needed as the region booms.

"It takes a long time to plan to build an airport," Tosta said. "There has to be planning."

A spokesperson with Sea-Tac Airport said a previous state study of possible additional airports determined it would be best to let airlines like Delta and Alaska determine the need. Much like what's happening at Paine Field, the report found businesses would search for new airports as traffic at Sea-Tac impacted the bottom line.

Tosta said she's not anti-airport, and recognized the benefits Sea-Tac brings to Burien. But looking down the line, another airport makes sense for both the city and the region, she said.

"Most major metropolitan areas in this airport have more than one airport," Tosta said. "We don't."

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