Sen. Jim McCune, R-Graham, released the following statement today in response to the Commercial Aviation Coordination Commission (CACC) proposal to site a massive two-runway airport at one of two rural Pierce County locations or another rural area southeast of Olympia.
“The proposal for a new mega airport in Pierce or Thurston counties has been thoroughly rejected by the homeowners, farmers and small-business owners of the communities I represent.
“A six-mile-diameter airport in the heart of these areas would tear close-knit communities apart, destroy agricultural lands, and devastate property values. It could even force some to sell their property for less than fair market value, at a time when rental costs and mortgage rates are rising, putting affordable housing out of reach.
“Such a project would also mean new freeways, high-speed transit, hotels, restaurants and lots more. Any value created by this economic development would come at a very high price. It would fundamentally change the very nature of these rural communities, as well as further reduce affordability at a time of record inflation.
“The only feasible and fair option of the two left on the commission’s list is to add capacity to Paine Field. That would meet some of the overall projected demand, without changing or destroying communities and causing irreparable harm to the people I represent.
“If the commission cannot listen to the voices of the people, who are speaking out loudly against the reckless option targeting Pierce and Thurston counties, I will work to convince my colleagues in Olympia to reject it should that plan come before the Legislature for consideration.”
The CACC began its work in October 2019 (as required by that year’s Substitute Senate Bill 5370), and is required by Senate Bill 5165, adopted in 2021, to meet three deadlines:
- Provide an initial list of six possible locations to the Legislature by February 15, 2022 [Completed]
- Provide a list of the top two locations (options) by October 15, 2022 [Completed]
- Provide a single preferred location recommendation by February 15, 2023
McCune represents the largely rural 2nd Legislative District, which runs along the southern portion of Pierce County, including the communities of Graham, Orting, Eatonville, and Kapowsin, and also includes part of Thurston County, including Yelm and Lacey.