Gov. Gregoire celebrates opening of new runway

November 20, 2008

AS WRITTEN

Good afternoon, and thank you for the introduction.

It’s great to see Senator Murray here -- and I want to thank and welcome everybody else taking part in this important occasion. I especially want to welcome Secretary Peters (Mary, USDOT Secretary.)

This is my second time today at Seatac. In fact, as governor I’m in and out of this major world-travel hub all the time.

So as a traveler myself, I’m very pleased that we now have a third runway to solve a major problem in our part of the world – rainy, uncertain weather.

In short, the third runway will allow all inbound flights to more quickly land in bad weather. That not only makes our airline travel more efficient, but makes Seatac a far more reliable destination for the world’s airlines.

And I don’t think I need to tell you that reliable travel is vital to the economic development of our state.

If you’re going to do business within and outside Washington, you need to be able to travel quickly across the country, and across the world.

And when I say across the world, I’m talking not just about our domestic airlines, but about all the foreign carriers we have worked so hard to bring into Seatac in the past two years.

I’m talking about Lufthansa to Frankfurt and Northwest Airlines to London…

…Hainan to Beijing…Aeromexico to Mexico City…and Air France to Paris…

…And next year -- Northwest to Beijing.

Here’s another reason to cheer the completion of the third runway. It represents one more step as our tourism industry prepares to benefit from the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

You can be sure that this airport will be a big player as athletes and tourists fly in from all over the world and our neighbor to the north looks to Seatac to handle some of the traffic.

This will bring tourists to Washington, which can only help our economy.

Our economy is struggling right now.

Our state joins 40 other states across the country facing significant budget shortfalls due to the national economic turmoil.

This is why it is critical for Congress to consider a stimulus package that would create jobs and make badly needed infrastructure improvements.

But the improvements we continue to make – including this new runway at Seatac – will position us for a brighter economic future when the hard times end, as they surely will.

Congratulations to the Port of Seattle, Senator Murray, Secretary Peters and all who made this day a reality.