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Last updated 3/13/2019 at Noon

Many readers remember well when county officials began reneging on their long-held promise to maintain Paine Field as a corporate and general aviation airport. Although some politicians believed in keeping their promise, and continued to vote against efforts to bring commercial passenger service to the airfield, they eventually were outvoted by those who favored business interests over residents.

The result? Last week passenger service began. Proponents were thrilled they no longer needed to drive to Sea-Tac for their flight to Las Vegas. But the dangers of opening that door were already apparent when the promised 12 flights per day doubled to 24, even before the first plane lifted off. Not surprisingly, bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. who don’t live under or near the Paine Field flight path didn’t see any problem with increased noise, air pollution, disruption of classes at nearby schools and other negative side effects.

Thousands of us who attended SOC meetings and jammed City Council chambers to protest, citing the well-established adverse experiences of people living near airports, had to finally shrug our shoulders and accept that Paine Field would become a secondary airport, providing more convenient service to Snohomish County and the surrounding region. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad, we told ourselves. Maybe we’ll take advantage of the convenience, too.

Surprise! The new service isn’t even a month old, and already they’re talking about expanding Paine. On Monday, the state Senate voted to establish a commission to study creation or expansion of an airport to relieve stress at Sea-Tac due to growing demand.

The Commercial Aviation Coordinating Commission would look at potential facility sites and create a short list of six sites for further consideration by January 2020. A likely addition to the list? Paine Field (see Page 1).

The Senate bill passed 45-1, with Sen. Marko Liias, representing us, casting the lone no vote. He said the bill’s broad language would allow Paine Field to be considered for expansion, which he opposes.

Right now, he has a high mountain to climb to prevent further deterioration of our quality of life. We hope he has more success than his constituents did.


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