Rep. Tom Dent picked for air cargo stakeholder group

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Tom Dent

OLYMPIA — Rep. Tom Dent, R-Moses Lake, was recently selected to be part of an important stakeholder group that will be studying air cargo movement in Washington.

Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, who is the ranking Republican on the House Transportation Committee, picked Dent for the Washington State Air Cargo Movement Study due to the representative's experience in aviation and representation of the 13th District, which is home to the Grant County International Airport. Dent became a professional pilot in 1976 and has logged more than 20,000 flight hours.

“I have 40 years of professional flying experience. My background fits this stakeholder group well,” Dent stated. “I bring a unique perspective to the group. I am very familiar with the current condition and needs of our state’s aviation facilities. I will be able to provide some firsthand knowledge of what needs to be done to strengthen air cargo transport and services in Washington state.”

Dent’s office says the Grant County International Airport is “likely” to play a big role in air cargo issues in the state in the future. The Washington State Air Cargo Movement Study itself was included in the transportation budget that was passed during the 2017 legislature.

The study has a goal to educate law and policy makers about air cargo movement at airports around the state, explore accommodations for the air cargo market at Washington’s airports and help pinpoint the state’s interest and role in addressing issues that stem from air cargo congestion.

“I recently participated in a trade mission to Japan to build relationships and possibly expand economic opportunities in our district and Washington state. The air cargo study ties right into that. A reliable and well-built transportation hub could help make that happen. I am hopeful this study would lead to improving our air cargo capabilities at the Grant County International airport and at airports in all corners of the state,” Dent said.

The stakeholder panels includes representation from Olympia, the governor's office, airports, air cargo and freight industries, transportation planning organizations and the Washington State Departments of Transportation and Commerce.

Richard Byrd can be reached via email at city@columbiabasinherald.com.

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