This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.
Looks like a deal is inching ever closer:
The trail would be designed as a “dual-use facility” that could accommodate a high-capacity passenger rail line sometime in the future, said one of the architects of the deal, County Executive Ron Sims.
If a final deal is reached in the coming months, the Port would pay $103 million for the rail line, then swap it with King County in exchange for county-owed Boeing Field.
The Port would also give the county $66 million to build a biking and hiking trail south of the Snohomish County line. Freight trains would continue to run between Woodinville and Snohomish.
So the Port is paying $169 million for an entire airport, or roughly one-tenth of the cost to add a third runway at Sea-Tac. Not a bad deal! The county gets to divest itself from the airport business, which makes sense, and it gets to preserve the right-of-way for transit use down the road.
The P-I adds:
Operations [at the airport] would not change at least until 2022, when SeaTac Airport, which is owned by the port, is expected to reach capacity, Sims said.
That’s when the pedal hits the metal. Remember that Sims was able to halt Southwest’s proposal to build a passenger terminal at Boeing Field in 2005. The Port objected to Southwest’s proposal, mainly because Alaska Air would have moved to match it, and the resulting decrease in gate fees at Sea-Tac would have hurt the Port’s funding for the afore-mentioned third runway.
Now, with the Port in control of Boeing Field’s destiny, it will be able to dole out passenger service as it sees fit. And, wouldn’t you know it, 2022 is just about the time Sea-Tac, third runway and all, is expected to reach capacity. Georgetown residents probably ought to get ready to fight again.