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Port 2019 Budget and Five-Year Plan Makes Investments in the Region

New infrastructure, economic development, environmental, and community health top priorities list
November 27, 2018

The Port of Seattle Commission today approved its 2019 budget and 2019-2023 capital investment plan or future budget blueprint. The five-year capital development plan outlines the Port's blueprint to invest $348 million to maximize the economic and environmental vitality of Seattle’s working waterfront in the face of significant industry changes.

“Our aviation and maritime industries are among this region’s most recognizable and reliable sources of opportunity,” said Port of Seattle Commission President Courtney Gregoire. “This budget and five-year blueprint advances our region’s status as a premier global gateway and makes transformative infrastructure and environmental investments to attract future opportunities consistent with our region’s values.”

The 2019 budget continues major investments in facilities and customer service at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, as well as investments in the maritime and economic development divisions. These initiatives are aimed at improving regional productivity, efficiency, community and environmental health, regional transportation, customer service, and security, and long-term financial sustainability to fund future investment in our region.

The Port’s 2019 budget spends 51 percent of it's $1.94 billion funds on capital expenditures and 23 percent of its budget on operating expenses. The 2019 budget includes $935 million in major capital development programs at the airport, such as the new North Satellite, International Arrivals facility, and high-speed baggage program.

This is the first budget proposed by Stephen P. Metruck, who joined the Port as Executive Director in February 2018. “This forward-looking budget and five-year plan directly responds to our region’s travel, trade, and logistics needs. We prioritized efficient facilities, environmental investments, and resources to strengthen customer service and community engagement,” said Executive Director Metruck.

In addition to approving the budget, Commissioners also directed the Port to fund three specific priorities:

  • South King County Support Program 
  • Sustainable Aviation Fuels and Air Emissions Program 
  • Additional workforce development program

The South King County Support Program fund will provide support for Sea-Tac Airport area communities. The 2019-2023 budget blueprint allows up to $10 million for the South King County Support Program, with $750,000 budgeted in 2019. The Commission will rely on public engagement before determining a policy directive on uses, guidelines, and timelines for the expenditures. 

“Sea-Tac Airport’s continued strong growth supports a robust regional economy and the thousands of jobs that depend on the airport. Our commitment is to airport growth that is well-managed, environmentally responsible and respects our neighboring communities, said Commissioner Peter Steinbrueck. “The Commission will dedicate more resources to build on our longstanding efforts to address airport noise and other projects that support environmental health and enhance sustainability.”

The Sustainable Aviation Fuels and Air Emissions Program fund will be used to address the development of sustainable aviation fuels at Sea-Tac and other efforts to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. The 2019-2023 budget blueprint provides up to $5 million for the fund, with $375,000 budgeted in 2019.

“I look forward to furthering the Port’s work to reduce the air and water pollution impacting the environment and surrounding communities,” said Commissioner Fred Felleman. “Our major new environmental investments to further explore development of sustainable aviation fuels and significantly expand access to clean electrical power on the waterfront can help industries become allies in combatting climate change.”

A new workforce development pilot program will begin in 2019 to educate and assist workers and employers at Sea-Tac airport on labor and employment matters. The pilot program will help airport workers understand their benefits, and help answer questions that arise when benefits and rights unique to the City of SeaTac differ from state statute. The pilot project is funded for up to $531,000 in 2019 and 2020.

The Port also continues its significant efforts in workforce development for youth and adults, spending $3.6 million in 2019 on workforce development programs. “Preparing young people for careers in port industries benefits our entire region. The Port will expand its partnerships with industry, local schools, and colleges to expose young people to these rewarding opportunities and create pathways to training,” said Commissioner Ryan Calkins.

2019-2023 Budget Blueprint

The 2019-2023 budget blueprint advances more than 20 key maritime and economic development projects to maintain Port assets, advance maritime industries, and invest in communities and the environment between 2019-2023.

Highlights of projects in the $348 million five-year budget blueprint include:

  • $100 million for a new cruise berth (assumes 50 percent tenant cost share)
  • $39 million for development of Terminal 91 uplands
  • $35 million for berth replacement at Terminal 91
  • $30 million for bringing electrical power to the waterfront
  • $23 million for Fishermen’s Terminal Gateway Building
  • $17 million for a Terminal 117 habitat restoration program

Through the Northwest Seaport Alliance, the Port will invest $340 million for the redevelopment of Terminal 5 to handle ultra-large container vessels.

Under the plan, median household property tax payment to the Port would increase by $1.39, going from $68.80 per year in 2018 to $70.20 per year in 2019. In 2018, of the $5.6 billion that King County collected in property taxes, just 1.3 percent went to the Port of Seattle. The property tax levy made up less than five percent of the Port’s cash revenue in 2018.

The five-year budget blueprint allows the Port to plan its longer-term investments. Individual projects included in the five-year budget blueprint still receive further public discussion and require Commission authorization prior to construction.

2019 Budget Highlights

The 2019 budget advances Port of Seattle and community priorities by enhancing customer service, making travel and trade-related services more efficient, expanding economic opportunity across the region, and benefitting community and environmental health. Highlights for the Port’s 2019 capital development and operating budgets include:

Enhance efficiency, safety, and customer service at Sea-Tac Airport.

  • The airport capital budget for 2019 is $935 million and the five-year capital improvement plan is $2.7 billion. Three major projects at the airport, the North Satellite modernization, new International Arrivals Facility program and baggage handling optimization program reduce delays, provide more space, and services to travelers. These projects make up the majority of the 2019 investments.
  • Establish a new customer service department and program with a $5.2 million investment in programs and amenities
  • Enhance security with $3.2 million on additional firefighters and explosive detection K9 teams, equipment, and safety programs

Benefit community and environmental health by improving air and water quality and reducing carbon emissions.

  • $30 million for waterfront electrification that would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from waterfront equipment and cruise vessels at berth, improving air quality for maritime workers and residents.
  • $5 million for Sustainable Aviation Fuels and Air Emissions program for efforts to reduce air emissions in communities near the airport; and strategies and projects to reduce airport-related greenhouse-gas emissions.
  • $750,000 for next year for addressing airport noise, and other issues including environmental health and sustainability in South King County Communities, as part of a proposed five-year, $10 million program.
  • Almost $7 million to continue our commitment to environmental clean-up and other remediation in the Duwamish.
  • Installation of solar power at the Port’s Pier 69 building, and $200,000 for construction of future phases of the Smith Cove habitat and carbon sequestration project.
  • $500,000 for our ACE Fund that will continue small grants in near-airport communities and creates a Green Cities Partnership and an Urban Forest proposal.
  • More than $1 million for Energy and Sustainability partnering funds, environmental justice projects for near-Port communities, work on our Sustainable Aviation Fuels program and continued work on an Energy and Sustainability Framework evaluation for Port projects.

Strengthen workforce programs to create pathways for maritime and aviation careers.

  • In 2019 we will invest almost $3 million in workforce development funding to support apprenticeship training and retention and support regional efforts to increase the number of women and minorities on our job sites.
  • We will continue our tremendous success with high school and college internship program with a $634,000 investment in our youth.
  • Implement the Port’s new Diversity in Contracting initiative through new capacity to increase the number of women and minorities that contract with the Port, on our way to tripling the number of woman and minority-owned businesses that benefit from the Port’s investments.

Support regional strategies.

  • Continue building on our economic development investments with Burien and Des Moines to create hundreds of new jobs with the construction of light industrial and office buildings.
  • Maintain partnerships with local communities here and around the state to promote tourism and economic development and provide advertising space at the airport. Those grants total almost $2.5 million.

Leverage our current transportation system and industrial uses.

  • $11.7 million in regional transportation investments to improve efficiency and safety for freight and commuters, and a ten-year commitment on over $60 million.
  • 2019 funding highlights include:
    • Heavy Haul Corridor
    • Puget Sound Gateway
    • Safe and Swift Corridor


Peter McGraw | Maritime and Corporate Media Officer
(206) 787-3446 |

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