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Search for new Puget Sound airport location begins

State legislators believe Sea-Tac Airport is getting too crowded and won’t be able to handle the region's continuing growth.

Editor's note: The video above was originally published in March 2019.

Does Western Washington need another airport? Some Washington state lawmakers think so.

Although Sea-Tac International Airport is one of the fastest-growing airports in the nation, legislators believe it is getting too crowded and won’t be able to handle the region's continuing growth.

The Commercial Aviation Coordinating Commission held its first meeting Wednesday. The commission was created by the Legislature last spring and tasked with recommending a location for a new airport by January 1, 2022. Plans could include everything from expanding Everett’s Paine Field or another existing airport to establishing a cargo-only airport somewhere else in western Washington.

RELATED: More regional airports studied as Washington eyes population growth

The state Legislature said their preference would be for a new airport to be built and operational by 2040.

A final study report is due in the fall of 2020.

Earlier this year the planning organization Puget Sound Regional Council (PRSC) administered a Regional Aviation Baseline Study to help figure out the aviation needs of the Puget Sound region.

"When the region's population between now and 2050 grows by 40%, what is the range of passenger air service we should prepare for?" PRSC Executive Director Josh Brown asked in March.

That 40% growth is equal to another 1.8 million people over the next 30 years.

PRSC teams were already visiting 29 large and small airports around the Puget Sound region last spring. The bullet points being looked at were the feasibility of the airports to accommodate demand and the scenarios for future growth.

RELATED: Paine Field flooded with hundreds of fake noise complaints