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Here’s what airport group decided about possibility of new facility in Pierce, Thurston

By Shea Johnson, The News Tribune
Published: June 9, 2023, 3:50pm

TACOMA — After more than three years of investigating a potential location for Washington’s next major airport, the Commercial Aviation Coordinating Commission on Friday didn’t recommend any of the three greenfield sites in Pierce and Thurston counties.

In its final meeting, the CACC voted 10-1 to submit a report to the state tailored around a recent survey that showed almost all members preferred a yet-to-be identified greenfield site to house any new airport.

The decision punctuates the significant concerns that had been identified with sites in or near Graham, Roy and East Olympia, including environmental and fierce public pushback. The commission, which has been tasked by state lawmakers in 2019 with finding a landing spot for a new aviation facility, had narrowed options to those three locations in September.

Since then, community members, local and state lawmakers, tribal groups and other organizations have criticized the CACC’s considerations. Last month, Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill, which was born out of local concerns, that created a new working group to take over exploration of Washington’s aviation future. Inslee also called for potentially expanding existing airports to take precedent over the possibility of building from scratch.

The commission will sunset on June 30.

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