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PUGET SOUND REGIONAL COUNCIL RELEASES FLIGHT PLAN DECISION SCHEDULE

 SEATTLE, Dec. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- A second, special General Assembly meeting and numerous workshops, open houses and other public meetings will be conducted by the Puget Sound Regional Council over the next four months as its member local governments decide how best to meet the long- term commercial air transportation capacity needs of the central Puget Sound region, the Regional Council said today.
 The Regional Council's Flight Plan decision process begins Jan. 14 at the Bellevue Conference Center, 505 106th Ave. NE in Bellevue, with a six-hour workshop for the members of the Regional Council's Executive Board and Transportation Policy Board.
 And, it is scheduled to culminate at the Seattle Center Flag Pavilion April 29 when the Regional Council General Assembly conducts its second meeting of 1993. The General Assembly normally meets once a year.
 The schedule also includes a seven-hour public hearing March 24 at the
Seattle Center Flag Pavilion. The extensive schedule is designed to ensure opportunity for public review and comment, and consultation with community groups and member agencies, so that all Regional Council members have a thorough knowledge of the alternatives for meeting the region's air transportation capacity needs, and the consequences of each alternative, prior to making a decision.
 Under federal and state laws, the Regional Council is the Metropolitan Planning and Regional Transportation Planning Organization for King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties, and is responsible for maintaining the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). Part of the RTP is the Regional Airport System Plan (RASP); the Regional Council's decision on Flight Plan, scheduled for April 29, will be an amendment to the RASP.
 Flight Plan began in 1989 as a joint effort by the Puget Sound Council of Governments (PSCOG), the forerunner of the Regional Council, and the Port of Seattle, to identify the region's long-term air travel needs, evaluate alternatives for meeting those needs and recommend a regional solution.
 They appointed the Puget Sound Air Transportation Advisory Committee (PSATC), a 39-member group of local and state elected officials and representatives of business, aviation, citizen and environmental interests, which met over a two-year period and ultimately recommended a multiple airport system that includes the addition of a third runway at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac), establishing commercial air flights at Paine Field near Everett, and developing an additional commercial air facility in Pierce or Thurston counties.
 In 1991, as the PSATC was developing its draft recommendation, the local governments that had formed PSCOG decided to replace that organization with the Regional Council, which has since gained significant new authority under federal transportation and state growth- management laws.
 This past October, the Regional Council released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) on the Flight Plan Project. The FEIS does not identify a preferred alternative for meeting the region's commercial air transportation capacity needs.
 Instead, the FEIS evaluates the impacts related to noise, air quality, ground transportation, land use and the environment that would occur under a range of regional alternatives, from taking no action, to expanding capacity at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, to adding air carrier service at supplemental airports, to closing down Sea-Tac entirely and building a new airport.
 The FEIS is a non-project or "programmatic" document under state law, which means that it provides information on the regional impacts of system-level choices, but does not provide the kind of detailed analysis that will be necessary once a system alternative is chosen. It provides information that the Regional Council will use to help formulate a RASP decision in April 1993.
 The Regional Council also is developing more detailed information on issues raised during public hearings last spring on the PSATC recommendation. Those issues include demand management, which seeks to meet increased capacity needs through improved efficiency in airport operations and other methods; impact mitigation and abatement; and timing of decisions and actions.
 Forecasts prepared for the FEIS project nearly a tripling of passenger demand, from 16.2 million to 45 million annual air travel passengers for the region by the year 2020. Arrivals and departures at Sea-Tac could increase much less rapidly, from 355,000 per year (in 1990) to 524,000 by 2020. The current efficient capacity of Sea-Tac is 380,000, the FEIS states.
 The Regional Council's General Assembly, which is scheduled to make is decision on Flight Plan and the RASP amendment April 29, includes mayors, county executives, and city and county council and commission members in King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties.
 Detailed Flight Plan/RASP amendment decision schedule follows:
 PUGET SOUND REGIONAL COUNCIL MEETING SCHEDULE
 LEADING TO FLIGHT PLAN DECISION
 (Amendment to Regional Airport System Plan)
 Jan. 14
 9-10 a.m. -- Transportation Policy Board (TPB) regular meeting
 10 a.m.-4 p.m. -- TPB/Executive Board (EB) Flight Plan
 Workshop No. 1
 Bellevue Conference Center
 505 106th Ave. NE, Bellevue, Wash.
 Jan. 21
 9 a.m.-1 p.m. -- TPB/EB Flight Plan Workshop No. 2
 1:30-3:30 p.m. -- Operations Committee budget meeting
 Bellevue Conference Center
 Jan. 28
 8:30-9:30 a.m. -- Operations Committee regular meeting
 9:30-11 a.m. -- Executive Board regular meeting
 11 a.m.-3 p.m. -- TPB/EB Flight Plan Workshop No. 3
 Bellevue Conference Center
 Feb. 4
 9 a.m.-12 p.m. -- TPB/EB Flight Plan Workshop No. 4 (if needed)
 Bellevue Conference Center
 Feb. 8
 5:30-8 p.m. -- Flight Plan Open House No. 1
 Mariner High School
 200 120th SW, Everett, Wash.
 Feb. 10
 4:30-7 p.m. -- Flight Plan Open House No. 2
 Kennedy High School
 140 S. 140th St., Burien, Wash.
 Feb. 11
 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m. -- TPB regular meeting
 12-2 p.m. -- Operations Committee special budget meeting
 Regional Council Conference Room
 216 First Ave. S. (Fourth Floor), Seattle
 Feb. 16
 4:30-7 p.m. -- Flight Plan Open House No. 3
 St. Helens Plaza
 47 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma, Wash.
 Feb. 18
 4:30-7 p.m. -- Flight Plan Open House No. 4
 Silverdale on the Bay Hotel, Silverdale, Wash.
 Feb. 25
 8:30-9:30 a.m. -- Operations Committee regular meeting
 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m. -- Executive Board regular meeting
 12:30-3:30 p.m. -- Transportation Policy Board
 Flight Plan Decision Meeting No. 1
 Bellevue Conference Center
 March 4
 9 a.m.-12 p.m. -- Transporation Policy Board
 Flight Plan Decision Meeting No. 2
 Bellevue Conference Center
 March 11
 1-3 p.m. -- General Assembly Flight Plan Workshop
 3:30-5 p.m. -- General Assembly regular meeting
 5-6 p.m. -- No-host Social Hour
 6-9 p.m. -- General Assembly Dinner
 St. Helens Plaza, Tacoma, Wash.
 March 24
 3-10 p.m. -- Flight Plan Public Hearing
 Seattle Center Flag Pavilion, Seattle
 April 1
 9 a.m.-12 p.m. -- Executive Board Flight Plan Decision Meeting No. 1
 Bellevue Conference Center
 April 8
 9-10 a.m. -- Transportation Policy Board regular meeting
 10 a.m.-2 p.m. -- Executive Board Flight Plan Decision Meeting No. 2
 Bellevue Conference Center
 April 22
 8:30-10 a.m. -- Operations Committee regular meeting
 10 a.m.-12 p.m. -- Executive Board regular meeting
 Regional Council Conference Room
 April 29
 3-6 p.m. -- General Assembly Flight Plan Decision Meeting
 Seattle Center Flag Pavilion, Seattle
 -0- 12/29/92
 /CONTACT: Richard Milne of Puget Sound Regional Council, 206-587-5060/


CO: Puget Sound Regional Council ST: Washington IN: SU:

TB-LM -- SE008 -- 0390 12/29/92 15:50 EST
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