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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 21, 2008 at 3:44 PM

Airline travel: expect turbulence

Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times

Sea-Tac’s new, $1 billion runway spawned lawsuits, delays and a federal probe. United Airlines Flight 197 was the first airplane to land on the new runway.

Break out the Roundup

Editor, The Times:

Some things never go away [“As third runway opens at Sea-Tac, some seek a fourth,” page one, Nov. 20].

The Port of Seattle wanted the third runway on their turf.

Snohomish County residents, despite the residential origin of demand in north King County and Snohomish County, accommodated the Port of Seattle’s aspirations to externalize their costs to South King County.

The obvious resource for airport expansion was (and remains) McChord Air Force Base. However, McChord lies in Pierce County, so no control and no glory for Port of Seattle and much less construction work for local supporters.

With nudges from Rep. Norm Dicks and the rest of Washington state, Eastern Washington would have been giddy with visions of the military and civilian work force. That already exaggerated air-traffic growth will not be coming for a very, very long time.

If anyone still thinks the third runway was a good idea, I’ve got another surefire investment: WaMu. A better bet will be Roundup to keep the weeds down until those planes show up.

–Bill Duroe, Seattle

Quit dragging your heels

“Gregoire’s panel looked at high-speed rail as an alternative to more in-state flights, but concluded it was not likely to supply relief by the 2030 planning target.” [“As third Sea-Tac runway opens, some seek a fourth,” page one, Nov. 20]

How shortsighted. If we plan for high-speed rail now, just like California voters approved recently, a fourth runway will not be needed.

Currently, there are more than 60 takeoffs and landings for Seattle-to-Portland flights every day, nearly 50 for Seattle-to-Spokane and more than 20 for Seattle-to-Vancouver, B.C. Most of these can be eliminated if travelers can get from downtown Seattle to Portland or Vancouver in one hour and to Spokane in under two hours.

The benefits of high-speed rail along the I-5 and I-90 corridors extend well beyond the need to expand Sea-Tac’s capacity. Rail travel, with no greenhouse-gas emissions, is “green” travel. High-speed rail along heavily traveled corridors would reduce construction of more freeway miles.

Conversely, design and construction of rail lines provide tangible “green economy” jobs to Washington state, Oregon and British Columbia. And, should population and economic growth in future decades necessitate air-traffic capacity expansion, high-speed rail would make Bellingham and Moses Lake plausible “satellite airport” candidates.

–Leo Egashira, Seattle

Use what we’ve got

$57 million of my and other Americans’ tax money says that the airport near Everett should be used for the purpose for which it was built.

But with all due respect to Paine Field, wouldn’t it be appropriate for commercial planes to fly over Mukilteo to and from the newly renamed “Eyman Airfield”?

— George Randels, Port Townsend

Air travel safety

3 oz. toothpaste, 3 oz. shampoo, 3 oz. lotion and 3 oz. Pepto-Bismol — all zipped in a clear, quart-sized bag.

Shoes off, no gel-filled inserts allowed, but my 1 lb., gel-filled breast prosthesis is legal and doesn’t have to be declared to the TSA [Transportation Security Administration] as I pass through security to board my plane?

Can’t we get see the inconsistent irony of these ridiculous “safety” precautions that do nothing to make air travel safer? Enough already.

— Kay Schellberg, Seattle

Comments | More in Economy, Environment, Transportation

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