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League of Women Voters
of Snohomish County
P.O. Box 1146
Everett WA 98206
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May Committee Report

Wendy Wyatt | Published on 7/14/2023

Snohomish County for the Improvement of Transportation (SCCIT) 

Wendy Wyatt reported on the March 28 meeting. The guest speakers were Julie Trim and Eric Widstrand from Sound Transit. Julie Trim reported that agency goals include improving rider experience, security, station attendants, easier method of paying fares, cleanliness, and adding a crisis center. 

Sound Transit has 28,233 employees; women comprise 7.2%, compared to 3% nationally.  Twenty-eight percent of the track work for the Lynnwood station is done. This section is expected to open in the fall of 2024.

Eric Widstrand, of Transit Connections-Everett Link Extension, said that the organization is in the scoping process, at the planning stage now. Presently, shuttle service will be required for Paine Field and Boeing. The Ash Way Park-and-Ride is being considered as the starting point. The organization is working with the Alderwood Community Church, which is currently in the path of the Link guideway. 

Eric also mentioned there is a $5,000,000 funding gap, and many unknowns as well that have to be addressed.

Snohomish County Airport Commission (CACC)

Julie Winchell attended the March 30 meeting and reported that the CACC was lacking a quorum: four voting members and two nonvoting members have left the commission, either through retirement or resignation. Notably, Robert Hodgman, the former WSDOT aviation employee, has resigned from WSDOT and is now the director of the Yakima Air Terminal. This airport is vying to be selected as the expansion location for future air terminal to serve additional statewide flight. The Commission voted to reduce the quorum requirement from 12 to nine voting members. Because of this change in the quorum definition, they delayed a decision on their recommendation to the Legislature till a future meeting sometime before their June deadline. During the three-hour meeting, they allowed 20 minutes for public comment. Everyone who wanted to speak was able to do so. 

It was also mentioned that HB 1791, which would create an airport location  study group with wider representation, would likely pass. That would render the CACC’s recommendation moot. The CACC basically decided to discuss their recommendation at their next meeting in late April or early May, so the recommendation can be sent to the legislature by the June 15 deadline. One member stated that given the sophistication of the public comments received, it doesn’t appear that there is a preferred site. The CACC needs a lot more information before it can make a recommendation. There was a huge lack of funding that did not allow the CACC to drill deeper on the issues of environmental and public health impacts. It was suggested that the CACC should conduct a National-Environment-Protection-Act-type assessment on any sites under consideration.

WSDOT consultants presented their deeper-dive study on the three proposed sites that looked at infrastructure, airspace conflicts, aquifers, and wellhead protection areas. Each of the three sites have major issues.

There was also a presentation about air cargo trends. Here are a few facts that were shared:
Only 1% of the world’s trade tonnage is carried by air, but 33% of the world’s trade value is carried by air. 
The amount of cargo transported by air is projected to double every ten years. 
New air freighter aircraft deliveries from Boeing and Airbus will outpace passenger aircraft deliveries in the next 20 years. 
Sea-Tac and Boeing Field handle 98% of cargo tonnage moved by air in Washington state. 
FedEx and other integrated carriers account for 52% of Sea-Tac’s cargo market. Passenger aircraft carry 19% of Sea-Tac’s cargo market in their bellies. 
UPS and other integrated carriers account for 99.6% of Boeing Field’s cargo market, and the same is true for Spokane’s Geiger Field with 91% of their cargo market being from UPS, Fed Ex, and other carriers. 

Washington Legislative actions updates (bills, hearings, budget, etc.)

Lael White observes actions on rail related bills: Follow the link below to see the Climate Rail Alliance’s letter to the legislators and their chart comparing ESHB 1125 to the Senate striker bill rail budget proposals. Many of the items in ESHB 1125 were absent in the Senate striker bill. The final version of the bill will reveal the rail community final wins for this legislative session. After final passage, there may be some improvements for the transportation of freight via rail - very little in the bill impacts passenger service.
Lael mentioned that the Tri-Cities area is the fastest growing area in WA state. 
Lael provided an update on the progress of Legislature’s transportation bills. Many of the bills dealing with transportation were to be voted out of Rules 2 on April 12.  This includes HB 1791, which replaces the CACC with a new working group.