Airport sites in Puget Sound could be put on no-go list due to military conflict
Three greenfield sites under review for a potential new major airport in Washington might be one step closer to being removed from consideration under a proposed bill that would reset a three-year analysis of the state’s commercial aviation future.
House Bill 1791 would supplant the Commercial Aviation Coordinating Commission, which was tasked by the state in 2019 with recommending a site appropriate for a new airport. The CACC narrowed options in September to three rural sites in Pierce and Thurston counties, setting off a wave of local opposition. The CACC is scheduled to recommend a single location by June.
An amendment to HB 1791 passed Thursday in the House Transportation Committee would require the CACC’s proposed successor — called the Commercial Aviation Work Group —- to produce a list of areas that will be barred from analysis because they conflict with military operations.
The work group must include those locations in its first report to the state, according to language in the substitute House bill. If previously reported conflicts with Joint Base Lewis-McChord are any indication, greenfield sites near Graham, Roy and East Olympia would be named as no-go sites for an airport in the work group’s report.
JBLM representatives have said that a two-runway airport at any of the three greenfield sites currently under CACC consideration — two in Pierce County and one in Thurston County — are at odds with the nearby military installation.
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