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BACKGROUND

 

In April 2019, the Washington State Legislature passed Substitute Senate Bill 5370, creating the Commercial Aviation Coordinating Commission (CACC). Their stated mission is to “develop recommendations to meet Washington state critical aviation system capacity needs.” Commission members were appointed by the Governor.

 

The CACC had a hard deadline of June 15, 2023 to recommend one new airport site to the Legislature.

 

Stop the Airport has been collaborating with No Airport Here (which represents two possible greenfield sites in Pierce County) and SAVE the Plateau (group in Enumclaw which is still being considered by WSDOT - outside the CACC's limitations). Our organizations have similar concerns about an airport’s impact on our respective areas and on the South Sound overall.

UPDATE 6/9/2023: The CACC ended their work by instead submitting a survey of all CACC members - a single site was not selected/recommended in their final meeting.  ESHB 1791 takes over by establishing a new workgroup. See the FAQ for more info.

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Information excerpted from the CACC website (Oct. 16, 2022):

The CACC began in October 2019 and is required to meet three deadlines:

  • Provide an initial list of six possible locations to the Legislature by Jan. 1, 2021 (Complete)

  • Provide a list of the top two locations (options) by Oct. 15, 2022 (Complete)

  • Provide a single preferred location recommendation by June 15, 2023

 

As part of the recommendation approved by the Commission in September, the number of greenfield options provided by the consultant working on the aviation system plan was narrowed to three based on the technical data available. The commission will now focus on community engagement and additional technical analysis in order to narrow the options down further in the spring of 2023.

 

The opportunity for community feedback is now more focused on the greenfield sites. Prior to this, it was focused on existing airport communities as that list of options was narrowed.

 

The Commission’s recommendations are as follows:

  • Add capacity to Paine Field according to its Airport Master Plan (with potential for additional capacity), assume SEA executes its SAMP, assist other airports interested in pursuing regional commercial service (distributed air service supported by emerging technology)

  • Continue to develop a greenfield site option with a two (2) runway configuration. Pierce County Central, Pierce County East and Thurston County Central are the three greenfield sites remaining under consideration for a new airport, out of the 10 that were analyzed by the state's consultant.

 

The consultant for the Washington Aviation System Plan (WASP) has been conducting technical analysis that also serves the needs of the Commission. The two activities are separate endeavors but have similar interests. The reason the CACC decided to continue to consider the three greenfield sites is because all the analysis has not yet been completed; the CACC had a legislative deadline to report a reduced list of locations to the legislature. Since there are still three sites being analyzed, the CACC chose to continue to examine these three sites as one of the options. The analysis that is remaining includes:

  • Airspace review – with assistance from the FAA

  • Air cargo analysis

  • Additional environmental factor analysis

  • Transportation/access analysis

  • Infrastructure analysis

  • Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM) cost estimates

 

Once this analysis is complete, the consultant planning team will provide the data to the Commission. We anticipate the first round of information in the February 2023 time frame and will schedule a commission meeting once the information is available.

The public is invited to future meetings and there will be an opportunity for public comments, and you will also see concentrated efforts for community input in and around the greenfield areas.  

The Commercial Aviation Coordinating Commission was created by the Legislature and tasked WSDOT Aviation to provide staff support for coordinating and administering the commission and technical assistance as requested by commission members.

The CACC aims to recommend a single preferred location for a new commercial service airport by June 15, 2023. In addition to recommending a new primary commercial aviation facility, the commission will recommend additional ways to accommodate capacity needs at other facilities.

We are responsible, according to the Legislature (PDF 76 KB), for the administration of the commission’s work while providing technical support to the commission members.

Communication to the public and stakeholders will be crucial for CACC. The communication plan will provide the following:

  • A logical and factual framework for understanding the issues that must be addressed by the CACC and for understanding how the decisions will be made.

  • Meaningful ways for people who want to be included and involved in the deliberations of the CACC.

  • Assure that major stakeholders, such as local governments, the aviation industry, airports, and regional planning agencies have timely information to assure meaningful input

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