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(1) The legislature finds:
(a) The state's transportation needs are growing and it is imperative that the state plan comprehensively to meet the needs of its citizens, particularly in the fastest growing regions of the state;
(b) That planning for the future of aviation must take a comprehensive coordinated look at the transportation system as a whole;
(c) The pandemic interfered with the ability of the commercial aviation coordinating commission to perform a thorough and complete study of the possibility of a new commercial airport;
(d) The creation of a new primary commercial aviation facility has the potential for environmental, health, social, and economic impacts on the surrounding communities, and the legislature recognizes any preferred location will require substantial environmental, land use, governance, and funding decisions from federal, state, and local governments;
(e) There is expected growth in commercial aviation, general aviation, and air cargo operations; the Puget Sound regional council May 2021 regional aviation baseline study final report estimates that by 2050 capacity restrictions in the central Puget Sound will create a gap between the demand for aviation activities and the capacity for those activities; and
(f) The exploration of alternatives to Seattle-Tacoma international airport is critical to address this anticipated demand through a variety of transportation strategies that may include the creation or expansion of other airports.
(2) The legislature, therefore, intends to replace the commercial aviation coordinating commission with the commercial aviation work group and direct the work group to provide a comprehensive investigation of airport capacity in the state and the best way to address aviation needs in the context of overall state transportation needs in the next 20 years using independent verifiable data.
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