Opportunities and challenges at Paine Field

Paine Field in Everett is key to Snohomish County’s economic health. Here are some of the key issues expected to play out there in the years ahead:

Opportunities

Commercial air service: After years of fighting, even opponents of passenger air service at Paine Field say it’s likely inevitable. How can its arrival most benefit the region’s residents and economy?

Composite-material manufacturing: Many business and public leaders want the Paine Field area to become a hub for composite-material manufacturing. They say doing so will keep good jobs in the area that don’t depend on Boeing’s fortunes.

Future Boeing airplane programs: Everett landed the 777X. But the 747 and the legacy 777 production lines are expected to shut down in the next decade. Sooner or later Boeing will replace the 737 and could decide to make a successor to the 757. Where will they be assembled?

Challenges

Pollution: The state is toughening its water quality standards. Complying with the new standards won’t be cheap for many Paine Field-based companies and the airport itself.

Transportation: Business at and around Paine Field is growing. Businesses and local government have to figure out how to keep traffic moving. Does that mean more bus routes? Ride sharing? Light rail? New roads?

Crowded neighborhood: Paine Field sits in an increasingly crowded neighborhood. Industrially zoned land is in short supply. Passenger air service could soon land at the airport. Can Mukilteo residents, manufacturing businesses and the airport learn to live together?

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