County gets $12M FAA grant for upgrades at Paine Field

EVERETT — A new terminal for passenger jets isn’t the only heavy construction about to get started at Paine Field.

Government dollars are headed to the Snohomish County airport to help pay for building a new stormwater detention pond, move a taxiway and enhance an aircraft parking area. That work is scheduled to start in August. It’s happening thanks to a $12 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, supported the county’s grant application.

“Paine Field is poised for big things in the near- and long-term, and this kind of infrastructure investment will help make those projects a reality,” said Murray, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Some of the money is earmarked to build a water-treatment facility and detention pond northeast of the airport control tower. That should help filter water and slow down its flow as it leaves airport property.

The federal dollars also will pay to relocate part of Taxiway Bravo for better safety. Another project will rebuild the general aviation apron used for airplane parking.

County Executive Dave Somers credited Murray along with fellow Washington state Democrats U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen with making sure the money came through. Paine Field was one of 85 airports in 35 states that received dollars through the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program.

“Great things are happening at Paine Field, and we’re continuing to work hard to give our job creators the infrastructure they need,” Somers said. “Also, Paine Field will now have a much improved water treatment system, making the water that ends up in Puget Sound that much cleaner.”

Construction is expected to last for two years.

The airport, which is funded through leases and fees rather than tax dollars, is chipping in $5 million on top of the federal grants. That includes a 10 percent grant match and nearly $3.7 million to pay for the construction of the aircraft parking apron.

Separately, Propeller Airports broke ground in June on a future two-gate passenger terminal next to the control tower. Alaska Airlines expects to start nine daily flights from the site in the fall of 2018. That leaves terminal space for at least one more carrier.

Planners are within days of issuing a permit that would allow Propeller to start work on the terminal building’s foundation, said Tom Barnett, project manager for the county. Plans for the rest of the building have not been submitted, Barnett said, but are expected soon.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; Twitter: @NWhaglund.

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