State board approves funding to increase aerospace competitiveness
The state Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) recently awarded a $2 million loan to Paine Field to invest in infrastructure.
The Snohomish County Airport will use the funds, along with more than $2 million in local match, to prepare 42 acres of the Paine Field Aerospace Business Park for construction of an aerospace manufacturing facility that could be used by Boeing or another supplier to support the anticipated 777X program.
The Aerospace Business Park project has resulted from participation by Snohomish County on the governor’s 777X Permitting Task Force. The board unanimously approved the funding on Sept. 20.
“Washington took another step forward in demonstrating that we are willing to do what it takes to ensure that Boeing’s 777X is built here, including its carbon fiber wing and as many of its components as possible,” Gov. Jay Inslee said.
“The Community Economic Revitalization Board’s commitment of $2 million to assist Snohomish County in the preparation of land at Paine Field for aerospace-related manufacturing development is part of our strategy to ensure that Boeing and its supply chain have sufficient options when it comes time to select locations for 777X-related manufacturing.”
“State investment in this project sends a signal to the aerospace industry that Washington is ready to do what it takes to compete,” said Brian Bonlender, director of the Washington State Department of Commerce.
“These funds will prepare acreage that is adjacent to the Paine Field main runway and has unparalleled access to the Boeing Everett manufacturing campus – a perfect location to grow our state’s aerospace manufacturing sector.”
CERB funds build upon Snohomish County’s successful aerospace cluster, which includes an Aerospace Convergence Innovation Partnership Zone established in 2007.
This project is also awaiting a decision from the Department of Commerce on whether it will be designated as a project of statewide significance, which would expedite the permitting process.
Inslee directed the Department to pursue this designation in July when he laid out his game plan for winning the 777X.
“The people of Snohomish County build the best airplanes in the world,” said Snohomish County Executive John Lovick. “We very much appreciate the leadership of Gov. Inslee in partnering with us to move forward to preserve jobs and further develop our aerospace economy.”
The CERB loan is contingent upon the county completing specific pre-contract requirements, including an agreement from the private business committing to the creation of at least 50 jobs and private investment of at least $20 million.
“News of a conditional order by Deutsche Lufthansa AG for as many as 34 777-9X’s signals the world’s airlines are eager to add what will be a revolutionary airplane to their fleets,” Inslee said.
“This shows the need for this proactive investment, along with other significant initiatives still under development, and will make the case that Washington has the infrastructure, workforce, and business climate in place that can deliver the 777X to The Boeing Co, and its customers on schedule and on budget.”
-Edited by Beacon staff