The Herald of Everett, Washington
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Published: Saturday, September 15, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Guest commentary / Commercial service at Paine Field

Change will crowd out Boeing

On Friday the FAA released the enviromental impact statement on Paine Field. It determined that adding up to 23 flights per day by 2018 would not significantly increase noise, traffic or air pollution. A decision by the FAA on whether flights may be approved at the Snohomish County-run airport is not expected until the end of the year. No new hearings will be held, but written comments will be accepted through Oct. 14.
It's important for people to fully appreciate the impact of modifying the airport from a General Avaition to Commercial Traffic will bring. This is not about noise or plane nuisance. This is about maintaining the pro-Boeing, pro-Education, and pro-manfacturing airport that is unique to our area and provides for the standard of living we enjoy.
FAA laws stipulate that commercial air traffic cannot be limited once allowed and always takes precedence. Study any airport where commercial service has been allowed and within a short time the 5-10 flights a day escalate to many times that. With limited access for runway testing, we place in jeopardy the very thing that has kept our lives and county afloat for generations. Car rental jobs, and minumum wage service jobs are not a replacement for the quailty of life and living that Boeing real wage jobs and its subcontracting businesses bring to this area. It is important to condsider the longer, big picture of the impact.
An easier access for you to fly to Vegas, and don't kid yourself most destination points will still need to drive to SeaTac, and a handful of minimum wage service jobs is not worth it. There are those that say, that I'm being an alarmist or ask why doesn't Boeing speak out? (They really have their hands tied and cannot oppose their customer base.) The results are already established. Research Lansair and Bend, Oreon. See what happened there when they allowed Alligent into their airport. It didn't take long but 650 jobs were lost when Lansair left Bend because of its inablity to fly unobstructed as needed. Commerical airspace takes priority, period.
So ask yourself, when the Saudi Prince or any other new jet owner comes to Everett, and wants to take a test drive in his shiny new plane and he cannot because of lack of runaway access -- how long do you think it will be before Boeing starts to look to locate in other areas? They have already shown that they will do so.
There are many suitable communities in the South that are anxious to get them. South Carolina, Florida and Texas, are just waiting for this county and its leaders to make short-sighted decisions. That will be their open door to move the Boeing way of life to somewhere else. If you are as concerned as I am, write letters to the local papers, contact your federal representatives, talk to the leaders in the city of Everett and Snohomish County. Don't sit back and think others will take care of this for you. Or I'm not going to get involved. Our way of life is truly threatened. This is about so much more than a few jets taking off...

Vicki Derks lives in unincorporated Snohomish County near Edmonds.

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Jon Bauer, Opinion Editor:

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