State eyes Moses Lake for new airport

Print Article

Charles H. Featherstone/Columbia Basin Herald An EA-18G Growler gets ready to land at Grant County International Airport last week. A newly-formed state commission is looking at GCIA as a possible solution to Sea-Tac Airport’s congestion problems.

MOSES LAKE — With the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) handling just about as much air traffic as it can, the state of Washington needs a new big airport.

“Our one, big international airport is at capacity,” said state Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Des Moines. “Parked planes sit, there are delays, trucks arrive and cannot load or unload easily.”

“My district includes Sea-Tac,” Keiser continued. “It’s an economic engine, creates lots of jobs and lots of growth, but with that comes noise and pollution.”

Nearly 50 million people flew into and out of Sea-Tac in 2018, while cargo shippers airlifted 432,000 metric tons of cargo to and from Sea-Tac, according to data from the Port of Seattle, which oversees the airport. In fact, both passengers and freight increased roughly 8 percent in 2018 from the previous year.

“It’s just overcrowded,” said Keiser. “It’s the fastest growing major airport in the country.”

While there’s been talk for years about the need to address the problem of Sea-Tac, Keiser finally decided to do something about, authoring legislation that creates a 13-member commission to recommend a solution — a new airport, or expansion of a current airport, or some combination of the two — no later than Jan. 1, 2022.

The commission will include representatives from commercial aviation, freight, trucking, environmental organizations, a community group familiar with the effect of large airports, and representatives from the Port of Seattle, Spokane International Airport, and the Port of Moses Lake.

“We don’t want to skip any possibilities, so we want to be at the table,” said Port of Moses Lake Commissioner David “Kent” Jones.

While Keiser says she wants the commission to make the ultimate decision, a sense is already emerging that the state’s next big airport will not be all things for all people.

“The hub and spoke system is not sustainable,” Keiser said. “Everything in one big location doesn’t work.”

In fact, Keiser said Moses Lake has some “unique attributes” that would make it a good home for expanded cargo services, something she added should be distributed more evenly across the state.

According to Sen. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake, and Rep. Tom Dent, R-Moses Lake, both of whom co-sponsored the legislation establishing the airport commission, the Grant County International Airport would be a good place to base some air cargo operations, but would probably not be a good location for new passenger service since there is no easy or quick way to get to Seattle from here.

However, both Dent and Warnick noted that GCIA would need more infrastructure — roads and railroads — to be an effective cargo hub.

Dent pointed to the Denver International Airport, built significantly east of the city, and Tokyo’s Narita International Airport, built nearly 40 miles east of the Japanese capital. Any new passenger airport will still likely be built somewhere on the west side of the state, he said.

“This is a complicated issue,” Warnick said. “But if we don’t have the infrastructure here, it won’t fly.”

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com

Print Article

Read More Local News

Samaritan Clinic on Patton opens Monday

November 11, 2019 at 8:45 pm | Columbia Basin Herald MOSES LAKE — After a six-month remodeling project, the new Samaritan Clinic on Aspi Boulevard in the Larson Heights area opened for business Monday. The clinic is located at 8420 Aspi Boulevard, but...

Comments

Read More

People For People offers more than transportation

November 11, 2019 at 8:45 pm | Columbia Basin Herald MOSES LAKE — They can be seen at various times a day driving around Grant and Adams counties – People For People buses. Transportation is one of several services that People For People offers. They ...

Comments

Read More

Firefighters seek toy, clothing donations for local kids

November 11, 2019 at 8:44 pm | Columbia Basin Herald MOSES LAKE — The Moses Lake Fire Department is looking for donations of toys, clothing and food — as well as money — to help provide for needy families this winter. According to MLFD firefighter and...

Comments

Read More

Homemade egg pasta dough

November 11, 2019 at 8:44 pm | Columbia Basin Herald This dough is perfect for fettuccine, ravioli, spaghetti or any other pasta dish you would like to make. EGG PASTA DOUGH 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 Cups 00 flour (or just use 4 cups all-purpose f...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(509) 765-4561
PO Box 910
Moses Lake, WA 98837

©2019 Columbia Basin Herald Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X