Fey’s Bill to Form a Working Group to Restart the Airport Process Passes House

OLYMPIA—This afternoon the House passed HB 1791 with a vote of 88-9, which will ultimately restart the process on Washington’s airports.

“Opposition to the state’s proposed airport sites had been loud, fierce, and featured prominently in many regional and statewide news outlets. It was clear that the process that we established in 2019 was severely flawed,” said Fey. “But it is also true that we need to plan for all of our future transportation needs, including potential increases in commercial air traffic. Especially because Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is expected to reach capacity by 2050, with 27 million passengers unable to fly because supply won’t be able to keep up with demand.”

What HB 1791 ultimately does is to establish a work group to provide a comprehensive investigation of existing and new airport sites in the state. It does not recommend one or more sites but identifies the strengths and weaknesses of potential sites. This work group will be known as the Commercial Aviation Coordinating Work Group. If HB 1791 is signed into law, it will replace the Commercial Aviation Coordinating Commission (CACC) that was established in 2019 by the Washington State Legislature when it was called upon to recommend one site by June of this year.

“Part of this bill means that we will examine areas that cannot be considered for future air development because they would conflict with existing military air operations. The new working group now has time to review environmental impacts, and  involve federal and local stakeholders in the process.”

HB 1791 is now with the Senate for further consideration.