Politics & Government

Upgrades to Sea-Tac on priority list for Trump’s national infrastructure projects

The crowds flow through security screening at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Nov. 21.
The crowds flow through security screening at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Nov. 21. dperine@thenewstribune.com

President Donald Trump has placed expansion of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on a priority list for potential infrastructure upgrades by the federal government.

A list compiled by Trump’s transition team identified 50 projects around the country, including the Sea-Tac upgrades, as “Emergency and National Security Projects” that would take a total federal investment of $137.5 billion to complete.

The authenticity of the document, first obtained by the Kansas City Star, was confirmed by a senior congressional aide and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s office Tuesday.

Trump has vowed to spend heavily on airports, roads, bridges and railways as president, but had not released specifics for what he would invest in. Congressional Senate Democrats on Tuesday released a $1 trillion plan for infrastructure upgrades, and have said there might be common ground with Trump on the issue.

The Sea-Tac airport project on Trump’s list would include “airfield development,” “terminal development,” “facility modernization” and “expansion possibilities,” the document says.

If implemented, the plan would make Sea-Tac “the first large hub U.S. airport to fully incorporate sustainability as a key planning component.” The project would cost $2 billion and create 2,000 direct jobs, the document says.

Perry Cooper, a spokesman for the airport, said Sea-Tac has a handful of projects on its calendar worth about $2 billion. They include a new baggage handling system, a new facility for international arrivals and renovation of the north satellite terminal.

It is not clear if the list is a draft version. It appears to be from mid-December and refers to “President-elect Trump.” Trump took office last week.

The National Governors Association circulated a similar list, obtained by The News Tribune, among state officials in December, requesting further suggestions.

Spokeswoman Jaime Smith said Inslee’s office, in response to the governors association request, sent five other projects to the transition team for consideration.

Inslee’s suggestions included the controversial Interstate 5 bridge replacement project in Vancouver, widening roads on Interstate 405 and state Route 522, and money to speed up planned light rail lines approved by Sound Transit voters in November.

The Trump administration includes at least one outspoken opponent to the I-5 bridge replacement project. Former state Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, was Trump’s campaign director in Washington state and is helping to oversee the transition at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Seattle Times reported.

Though Inslee has criticized Trump often over the past two years, Smith said infrastructure “is one of those issue areas where there is potential for productive coordination with the administration.”

Staff writer Kate Martin, the Kansas City Star and McClatchy D.C. contributed to this report.

Walker Orenstein: 360-786-1826, @walkerorenstein