AIR WASHINGTON SURVEY SAYS EXPANSION AT SEA-TAC, PAINE FIELD SUPPORTED BY AREA RESIDENTS
AIR WASHINGTON SURVEY SAYS EXPANSION AT SEA-TAC, PAINE FIELD
SUPPORTED BY AREA RESIDENTS
SEATTLE, June 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Public support for a new runway at Sea-Tac airport and the inauguration of limited commercial traffic at Paine Field in Everett is significant according to survey data released by Air Washington, the Seattle Chamber-backed coalition that endorses the airport expansion plan proposed by the Puget Sound Air Transportation Committee, the coalition said today.
John Fluke, Air Washington co-chair, said the survey was conducted by Bannon Research of Boston, a nationally recognized opinion research firm, and consisted of a three-county sample size of 500.
According to the survey conducted during the first week in June, nearly 60 percent of the residents in King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties support the proposal by the Puget Sound Air Transportation Committee to add a new runway at Sea-Tac by the year 2000, bring limited commercial service to Paine Field using the existing runway by the year 2000, and plan for an additional south Puget Sound satellite. Only 24 percent oppose the plan.
When asked about particular pieces of the plan, 58 percent of the respondents support the new runway at Sea-Tac with only 25 percent expressing opposition. Sixty-three percent supported the initiation of limited commercial service at Paine Field with only 19 percent opposed.
"These numbers directly counter the impression that airport opponents are trying to create: that there is virtually no citizen support for airport expansion. Clearly, a significant percentage of Puget Sound residents recognize that Washington must maintain its air capacity needs if we are to remain a leader in the Pacific Rim and keep our economy strong and healthy," Fluke said.
"Perhaps now that we can demonstrate a strong base of support, we can begin to move from the debate about whether or not to expand capacity and work constructively on the question of how to best mitigate the impacts of expansion in order to affect the fewest number of people," Fluke said.
Fluke expressed surprise at the strong base of support for airport expansion. He said the support was based on a public that has a strong basic understanding of what it takes to keep the region healthy and strong, rather than the product of an organized effort to educate citizens.
"Since we have limited resources, we've been focused on educating and activating the business community as the first arm of our coalition. From this survey, it's clear that people are coming to a logical conclusion despite the extremely high noise level generated by a small number of expansion opponents," he said.
"These numbers are better than I had hoped for. Frankly, there were some times, particularly after reading press accounts, when I wondered if the only people favoring airport expansion were Air Washington members. It's good to know that we have a lot of company," Fluke said.
Fluke said the pollster was just completing tabulation of the full survey and that Air Washington hoped to begin meeting with editorial boards and others around the state. The coalition intends to share much of the information collected in an effort to focus discussions on substance and how to refine the proposal rather than on which faction can make the most noise.
"These poll numbers make clear that this effort does not have to be an adversarial process. Airport expansion enjoys significant public support, yet all of us who believe in this plan also have every desire to be extremely sensitive to lessening the impacts on the small percentage of area citizens who will be affected by airport expansion," Fluke said.
/CONTACT: Brad Jurkovich of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, 206-389-7271, for Air Washington/ CO: Air Washington; Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce; Sea-Tac
Airport; Paine Field Airport ST: Washington IN: SU:
JH-LM -- SE012 -- 0902 06/16/92 20:20 EDT