Opponents of Pierce County airport to gather this Friday
The opening salvos against building a major airport in Pierce County will happen this week. A town hall is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 13, from 7-9 p.m. at Graham Kapowsin High School. The meeting is being organized by the Coalition Against Gramham and Eatonville-Roy Airports.
“We will be coming together to let you know … what actions have been taken, what we need help with, and next steps,” organizers wrote on its Facebook page with 7,500 members. They are asking that if you are interested in attending that you RSVP via their Facebook page.
The Commercial Aviation Coordinating Commission put out a report that predicts 27 million more passengers will be arriving and departing from Washington state by 2050. With Sea-Tac International Airport projected to be near capacity soon, the Commission’s report said this new airport would need to be able to support 20 million annual passengers. The site may also be heavily relied on for the region’s air cargo.
Three locations are being considered: east Pierce County, central Pierce County, and central Thurston County. The two locations in Pierce County immediately stirred negative reactions because of environmental and infrastructure issues.
In a letter signed by the Pierce County Council, Executive Bruce Dammeier told WSDOT that the proposed areas couldn’t support this kind of project.
“We don’t have any major infrastructure out there,” he said. “We have some two-lane state highways. We don’t have any transit. So, it would require major freeways to go out there, major investment in transit to go out there.”
Dammeier said setting up the necessary infrastructure to support an airport of that size would come at the expense of the county’s natural environment.
The 2019 state legislation that tasked the commission with identifying a single preferred site by June also targeted 2040 for the new airport to be operational. The topic is expected to be addressed when the Washington legislative session begins this week.