The Washington State
Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has received an FAA grant to
begin work on the Long-Term Air Transportation Study (LATS).
Authorized by the Legislature, LATS is a three-year comprehensive
airport system study to guide future investments in
Washington’s public use airports.
According to a recent economic impact study, Washington’s
airport system annually generates 171,311 jobs, $4 billion in
wages, and $18.5 billion in total sales output. Today Washington
has 139 public use airports of varying sizes and functions located
throughout the state. Many of these airports suffer from aging
infrastructure and conflicts with local land uses.
“Washington’s system of airports provides a critical
transportation link for people, goods and public services like
fire, medical and search and rescue,” said WSDOT Aviation
Director, John Sibold.
“Both the FAA and Legislature will use the study’s
findings to help make more cost-effective decisions about airport
WSDOT will seek public
feedback throughout the course of the study.
In addition to identifying the roles for different airports,
developing funding and policy strategies, and identifying system
trends, the system plan findings will be incorporated into the
FAA’s National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS).
The NPIAS is updated every two years to identify airport
improvements needed to address safety, system efficiency and
environmental compatibility. The NPIAS is an important report the
FAA uses to support its budget requests to Congress.
WSDOT’s study will be conducted in three phases. Phase I
includes a review of airport inventory and capacity, and is
estimated to be completed by September 30, 2006. Phase II includes
developing forecast activities for each airport, a market analysis
of the commercial airports, a high-speed rail review, air cargo
study and future capacity assessment.
Phase II is estimated to take 12 months. During Phase III a
gubernatorial council will review Phase I and II findings and
determine long-term priorities to guide state aviation investment
decisions. Phase III is expected to be completed in 2009.