OLYMPIA: On January 12, 2023, the Thurston Chamber of Commerce Board of Trustees voted to oppose the inclusion of the greenfield site designated “Thurston County Central” as one of three greenfield sites for a new airport under consideration by the Commercial Aviation Coordinating Commission (CACC).
“The Chamber agrees with the numerous public, private, and non-profit stakeholders that the scope and scale of any future commercial aviation facility located within the Thurston County region would significantly alter and harm regional economic, environmental, and social conditions,” said David Schaffert, CEO and President. He added, “the Chamber believes that the explicit exclusion of the King County as one of the final greenfield sites from the analysis was incorrect.”
The Chamber recommends that the State legislature amend the CACC, enabling statutes to allow King County to be part of the analysis. In addition, the Chamber recommends that laws concerning the siting of “essential public facilities,” as defined under the State Growth Management Act, be amended to ensure that regions and communities can appropriately mitigate public facilities, such as airports, larger than 3,000 acres.
In multiple letters to the CACC and area Legislators, the Chamber notes that the CACC’s initial analysis and public presentations demonstrate that a King County site provides greater travel benefits and reduced environmental, social, and economic risk than the other sites considered. This analysis needs to be included in any final recommendation since anticipated growth in the King County population will continue to drive aviation demand at a volume higher than any other region of the State.
The Thurston Chamber values the work conducted by the CACC and recognizes the significant difficulties associated with siting and developing essential public facilities. However, any final recommendation made by the CACC under current law should be deemed incomplete and disregarded.
For more information, please contact (360) 357-3362 or DSchaffert@thurstonchamber.com.