Dear Friends and Neighbors,
With the 2022 election now certified, I am once again able to send out legislative communications. Over the past several months, my seatmate, Rep. Andrew Barkis, and I have received hundreds of emails and calls from constituents regarding the Commercial Aviation Coordinating Commission's (CACC) recommendation that a new airport be built in rural Pierce or Thurston county. Both of us adamantly oppose this recommendation and will be supporting legislation during the 2023 legislative session to delay any decision by the CACC until all possible sites in Washington state are properly reviewed. We talked about that and more in a recent video update. Take a look:
I also wanted to share some of the feedback we've received on this issue.
- My family has had the honor of living in unincorporated Roy for the past 15 years. We moved outside the urban growth zone to raise our children and now, in a few years, retire. Never in our worst nightmares could we imagine that the beautiful and majestic area we live in might be desecrated for an airport larger than SeaTac. We live in the Pierce Central circle and spent many HarvestFest events at your beautiful family farm in previous years. I can't imagine attending those events with jets continuously flying overhead.
- An airport of this size in Roy, Eatonville, Graham or Thurston County will destroy the rural nature of this area forever and eliminate wildlife habitat and millions of plants. It will mean additional pollution to the aquifer that provides potable water to a large portion of Pierce County and the destruction of many multigenerational farms, historic barns and new school buildings paid for by voter-approved levies.
- It will displace thousands of families at rates much higher than accounted for by the CACC's flawed estimates.
- Furthermore, critical infrastructure like roads, water, and sewage is not meeting current need; the addition of an international airport and the businesses that come with it is too heavy a burden to bear in the timeframe given for the opening of a mega airport. The cross-base highway in Spanaway was first identified as a priority in 2022, but 20 years later, there is no planned timeline to continue work on the highway. This new airport is projected to be operational in 18 years and will require massive reshaping of the land to level an appropriate space for a runway, including major improvements to water and sewer and miles of road expansion. This is not feasible given the history of infrastructure completed in this state. It took over 20 years for the I-5 improvements to be completed through Tacoma.
Few things are more important to Rep. Barkis and me than preserving our rural way of life. That is why we will continue doing everything we can to ensure this new proposed airport is never built in our backyard.
I encourage you to reach out to me with comments, questions or concerns on this issue or anything else that's on your mind. My email address is JT.Wilcox@leg.wa.gov, and my office number is (360) 786-7912. I'll be in touch again soon with a preview of the 2023 legislative session and a list of my top priorities.
It is an honor to serve you.