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Thu Sep 22, 2022, 09:56 PM

Is the next major Puget Sound airport in Pierce County? It's not out of the question

Sep. 22—The next major airport in the Puget Sound could be built in Pierce County, with state and industry officials reviewing two rural sites south of Tacoma as a possible location for new flight operations to accommodate significantly growing traffic at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Two vacant expanses of land in the unincorporated county — one south of South Creek, the other south of Graham — are among more than a dozen areas throughout the region being explored for the potential home of a new one-, two- or three-runway airport that would be constructed by 2040 and could see upward of 20 million annual passengers.

The potential that the county could become a hub for air travelers and shipments comes amid an ongoing effort by a state Legislature-created group, the Commercial Aviation Coordinating Commission, to identify a single location capable of the massive undertaking, with Sea-Tac expected in coming years to be unable to support estimated growth in passenger and cargo volumes.

State lawmakers developed the commission in 2019 with concerns that another major airport would be needed in the area. The region is projected by 2050 to see 27 million more annual passenger boardings than it can handle and 1.3 million metric tons of air cargo, which is double the current demand, according to a May 2021 study by the Puget Sound Regional Council.


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