Cantwell Backs Tri-Cities Airport’s Request for Development Program Grant

Airport is a major economic and transportation hub, serving more than one million residents in counties across southeast Washington and northeast Oregon

WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 17, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation in support of the Tri-Cities Airport’s Small Community Air Service Development Program (SCASDP) grant application. The grant amount of $750,000 will be supplemented by $300,000 in matching funds from surrounding counties and local businesses, to support important economic development.

“This airport is the gateway to the Tri-Cities region, it’s a key contributor to the economic vitality of the region, and provides air service to residents and business without necessitating travel to larger airports hours away,” said Cantwell. “While the economy and population of the Tri-Cities has been growing at a dramatic rate, air service offerings and enplanements have remained flat, and there is a critical need for access to new markets. For example, there are more passengers flying between the Tri-Cities and Los Angeles every day than to any other destination, yet the airport has no daily non-stop service to any airport in southern California.”

The Tri-Cities Airport is a major economic and transportation hub in Washington state, serving more than one million residents in counties across southeast Washington and northeast Oregon. The Tri-Cities region has experienced tremendous economic and population growth, yet air service offered to local businesses and community members has not kept pace. This grant is critically needed to meet increasing regional demand, open access to new markets and to continue to enable the Tri-Cities Airport to be a valuable economic engine.

The Tri-Cities Airport provides direct air service to eight major airport hubs throughout the U.S. Over the last five years the Tri-Cities Airport has experienced a 50 percent increase in passenger boardings, serving more than 331,000 passengers annually. In the coming decade passenger enplanements are expected to increase to nearly 500,000.

Full letter text below.

The Honorable Anthony Foxx

Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation

1200 New Jersey Ave SE

Washington, D.C. 20590

Dear Secretary Foxx:

I am writing to express my strong support for a $750,000 funding request under the Small Community Air Service Development Program submitted to the USDOT by the Port of Pasco and the Tri-Cities Regional Airport. If awarded, the grant will be supplemented by $300,000 in matching funds from the Cities of Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland; Benton and Franklin Counties; and local businesses.

The Tri-Cities Airport is a major regional transportation asset in the State of Washington serving more than one million residents living in communities in southeast Washington and northeast Oregon. This airport is the gateway to the Tri-Cities region, is a key contributor to the economic vitality of the region, and provides direct air service for the region’s residents and business without necessitating travel to larger airports hours away.

While the economy and population of the Tri-Cities has been growing at a dramatic rate, air service offerings and enplanements have remained flat, and there is a critical need for access to new markets. For example, there are more passengers between the Tri-Cities and Los Angeles every day than to any other destination, yet the airport has no daily non-stop service to any airport in southern California.

This funding request will be a key factor in helping the Port of Pasco recruit this critical service. Grant funding would be used to market the new service, offset startup costs for the carrier, and to support a revenue guarantee on the new route. Sky West Airlines, a current provider of air service at the Tri-Cities Regional Airport, has expressed interest in and support for new LAX service if this grant request is successful. This interest represents the exact type of private/public partnership that a SCASD grant can generate, and I strongly urge the Department of Transportation to partner with the Tri-Cities community on this important economic development project.

Sincerely,

Maria Cantwell

U.S. Senator

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