Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Sea-Tac Concourse A Grand Opening
June 11, 2004

Thank you, Mic. I am honored to be here.

This is a great day for the state of Washington. What a stunning, impressive welcome to our state for visitors and business people. And what a magnificent reminder to returning residents that there truly is no place like home!

Today we celebrate a success story. This beautiful terminal facility and the additional airline gates will help ensure ample airport capacity for our future. This is the largest expansion of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in more than 30 years. It concludes the largest construction project in Washington—bigger than Safeco Field or Seahawks Stadium.

This project also reflects the progress we’ve made in streamlining the environmental permitting process. At the outset of this expansion, we heard the criticisms about the permit system and how it was bogging things down. We heeded the recommendations of the Competitiveness Council when they told us the permitting process was an obstacle to transportation improvements and economic development. And we made changes.

We cut red tape and streamlined regulatory processes. The Department of Ecology set a goal to act on 90% of water quality permits within 90 days. We’re on target to meet this goal. This new terminal and other projects in our state have benefited from these improvements. And we will keep improving.

Concourse A also has great symbolic significance. It symbolizes our renewed commitment to remaining closely connected to other parts of our state and region, to destinations across America, and to the rest of the world. We’ve heard many times since September 11th that we live in a changed world. But for us it remains and will always be a connected world.

Sea-Tac Airport is one of our state’s great economic assets. About 22,000 people work here, and Sea-Tac creates an estimated 24,000 additional jobs around the airport. Close to 28 million passengers will be served here this year. And with summer vacation season beginning, the airport will host some 80,000 to 100,000 travelers every single day!

But the economic impact of Sea-Tac goes beyond the people who work here and the travelers who pass through. When I say this is one of our state’s great economic assets, I mean that air traffic capacity is a key to our region’s economic development.

Flexible, first-rate air travel capability—for business or for pleasure—is important in attracting new companies to our state. Good air service is always one of the top five criteria for company decisions about where to locate.

In just the past two years alone, eight companies have chosen Washington over other Northwest states. Together, these companies are generating thousands of jobs for our state.

And this outstanding airport is one of the reasons companies choose Washington. They can locate in our communities and enjoy our first-rate quality of life, and still have access to important markets across America and around the world. This new addition further expands Sea-Tac’s capacity and further elevates its importance as an economic catalyst.

Congratulations to the Port of Seattle on this outstanding, historic accomplishment. In honor of this achievement, I would like to read and present a proclamation…

[Read Proclamation]

On behalf of the people of the state of Washington, thank you for this contribution to our progress, our prosperity, and our freedom to travel and stay connected.

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