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(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray announced today that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has responded to her request for additional federal assistance for SeaTac Airport's third runway project by expanding its federal commitment to the project by an additional $61.9 million. The new funding will bring the total federal commitment to $278.4 million, making this the largest federal commitment ever to a major new runway project. This action also makes SeaTac the only major airport project in the U.S. to have its federal commitment expanded twice. Today's grant decision by the FAA will be open to review by Congress for 30 days.



"The third runway will be a critical boost to the Puget Sound's economy for decades to come and I'm thrilled that this additional federal funding commitment will bring it closer to reality. Coupled with Boeing's recently announced orders for the 7E7 and the opening of the new control tower and terminal approach facilities at SeaTac, the area's aviation industry is growing and is still at the heart of the Puget Sound's economic prosperity," Murray said.



Murray, the senior Democrat on the Senate Transportation, Treasury and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, has pushed the FAA to provide these additional funds for months. She had separate personal meetings on the topic in her office with Transportation Secretary Mineta and FAA Administrator Blakey and also pushed both of them publicly for this further commitment during separate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee hearings in March and April of this year.



The funds provided will help compensate SeaTac for a significant portion of the added environmental mitigation costs associated with complying with the Clean Water Act and other Federal environmental laws.



"I'm pleased that the FAA has recognized the problems this project has faced and stepped up to provide the additional federal commitment this project needs. The third runway project has become the nation's poster child for delays and legal challenges to new runways. The cost of complying with federal environmental laws has grown dramatically, and forced three separate funding commitments," Senator Murray said.



Separately, just last summer, Murray was successful in obtaining a federal commitment from the Department of Homeland Security's Transportation Security Administration of $159 million to install explosive detection systems and make necessary terminal alterations to speed the pace at which passengers and baggage can clear security over the next few years. This, in turn, has allowed for the timely construction of SeaTac's new South Terminal.