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Port Commission Approves Budget for Historic Investments to Deliver for People and the Planet

November 29, 2022

The Port of Seattle Commission approved final adoption of the Port’s 2023 budget and five-year capital plan today, proposing historic investments in our facilities and organization. These investments will enable the Port to support key industries, lead on environmental sustainability, and deliver for the people who rely on the port even in uncertain times.

“Local industries and the community need us to deliver more than ever before,” said Executive Director Steve Metruck. “This balanced budget and capital plan responds to regional needs with more essential services and programs, as well as historic new investments that deliver in the short-term and long-term for people and the planet.”

Investment highlights include a five-year capital plan of $5.3 billion, the largest in the Port’s history, as well as increased funding for airport customer service, environmental programs, community initiatives, and workforce development. The total capital budget proposed for 2023 is $725.8 million.

“In periods of change, those who can adapt quickly fare best,” said Port of Seattle Commission President Ryan Calkins. “Because of the vital role the Port plays in our local economy, we need to continue to make major strides on transformative initiatives like decarbonizing port-related industries and modernizing our airport. Careful executive stewardship, values-based leadership from the Commission, and close partnership with industry and community will continue to drive our success.”

A rebound in travel has allowed the Port to increase reinvestments in its business. Passenger volume at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) rose to nearly 90 percent of 2019 record levels, while cruise ship passenger volume exceeded historic highs by 6 percent. Opening the airport’s new International Arrivals Facility and the modernized maritime container Terminal 5, through the Northwest Seaport Alliance, contributed to increased activity.

At the same time, severe inflation, international conflict, supply chain issues, a tight labor market, surging travel and trade demand, and climate change impacts have brought new challenges to our community, workforce, Port lines of business, and partners.

Investments in Capital

“Our 2023-2027 capital plan invests a historic $5.3 billion across the Port’s Aviation, Maritime and Economic Development operating divisions to ensure that our facilities meet the business and sustainability demands of today and for the next generation,” said Hamdi Mohamed, Port of Seattle Commissioner, “The airport’s $4.6 billion in capital investments make travel more predictable and efficient while meeting safety, regulatory, accessibility, and sustainability standards.”

Featured airport capital projects include improvements to the terminal and concourses through the SEA Gateway program, C Concourse Expansion, and Baggage Modernization Project.

“The Port’s 2023 budget strives to assure that commerce, communities, and the climate can coexist,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Fred Felleman. “Our maritime budget includes support for research and conservation—from kelp to killer whales—because protecting our marine environment provides competitive advantages for our maritime tenants. To meet the increasing demands for airline travel, our ambitious aviation budget includes funding to improve the traveler’s experience while also fostering the use of sustainable aviation fuels to reduce impacts on our airport neighbors and the climate. We will also continue to promote responsible outdoor travel to create inclusive economic opportunities while protecting our region’s natural wealth.”

“This budget will boost the Port’s international maritime trade business by investing $276.4 million in terminal modernization and environmental sustainability projects of the Northwest Seaport Alliance,” said Sam Cho, Port of Seattle Commissioner. “This budget also funds the completion of Seattle’s Terminal 5, the only new cargo container terminal to open on the West Coast during the course of the pandemic.”

Capital projects continues to be the largest category of Port spending. In 2023, capital spending will make up 39 percent of the Port’s budget, and up to 43.5 percent including the Northwest Seaport Alliance projects.

Investment in Equitable Economic Recovery

“The Port is making big investments to transform our aviation and maritime industries for a healthier environment and thriving economy. I’m proud that the proposed 2023 budget makes a historic investment in people, programs, and our planet,” said Toshiko Hasegawa, Port of Seattle Commissioner. “This includes new funding towards programs serving historically underserved communities in the Duwamish Valley and Beacon Hill. It expands our small business assistance program, as well as our anti-trafficking efforts, and explores establishing childcare for SEA workers. This work centers on every-day people and working families who have so much to contribute to and gain from our projected growth, and it makes strides towards achieving our Century Agenda Goals.”

Investments in Community

The proposed 2023 budget invests an additional $2.5 million in community initiatives, for a total of $19.1 million. Featured initiatives include workforce development; the South King County Community Impact Fund; Diversity in Contracting programs; major initiatives from our Office of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion; and tourism marketing support for Washington state’s smaller destinations.

Port operating divisions all utilized an equity in budgeting strategy in proposing staff, initiatives, and funding. An equity in budgeting approach leads to greater investments in ensuring diversity in contracting, expanding employee development and recruitment, new investments in access to Port materials and facilities, and increased outreach funding. Port officials briefed the Commission on the proposed budget and capital plan during multiple public session meetings and offered an additional public briefing during open house sessions in October.

The proposed 2023 budget also includes $17.7 million for environmental initiatives and $11.9 million for customer experience initiatives. Highlights of programs that deliver for people and the planet include:

  • $4,962,000 for a multi-year contract to increase airport customer service support
  • $1,250,000 to support the delivery of sustainable aviation fuel to SEA airport and advocacy to incentivize greater production and deployment
  • $1,000,000 for the Port’s Aquarium Strategic Relationship for maritime industries and habitat conservation education
  • $400,000 to accelerate the removal of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as “PFAS”, from Port fire-fighting foam
  • $350,000 to improve parks accessibility, with an early focus on He? apus Park and Shoreline Habitat
  • $462,000 to support the Duwamish Valley Community Equity Program
  • $200,000 to explore maritime economic development opportunities in the offshore wind industry
  • $200,000 to support exploration of a first of its kind cruise-focused Green Corridor between Alaska, British Columbia, and Washington
  • $100,000 to explore the feasibility of a South King County Public Market and Commissary
  • $100,0000 included to conduct outreach and explore feasibility of a childcare facility to serve airport workers and employees

2023 Operating Budget Summary

  • Total operating revenues: $953.7 million; $186.8 million or 24.4 percent above the 2022 budget
  • Total operating expenses: $573.4 million; $74.3 million or 14.9 percent above the 2022 budget
  • Net operating income before depreciation: $380.3 million; $112.5 million or 42 percent above the 2022 budget


Peter McGraw | Port of Seattle Media Officer
(206) 787-3446 |

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