A Letter To Joel Wachtel

Mr. Wachtel is a member of the SeaTac City Council. He chaired tonight’s City Of SeaTac Airport Advisory Committee.

Dear Council Member,

Thanks for your time tonight. On our way out you expressed a we discussed how hard it is to agree on goals in a committee like yours where there are so many possibilities. I want to offer one observation which I hope you may find useful in that regard.

Your group questioned how much the Port really can do for residents concerns and it’s a fair question.  And one way we tried to answer that was by answering another question:

How do the noise mitigation efforts that the Port Of Seattle has provided to residents compare to those in other large cities?

SeatacNoise.Info began collecting this information several months ago as part of a larger project and here is a one paragraph summary:

Other airport operators have done a much better job of noise mitigation in their communities. They have not had the poor installs or the defective products that we have. Other airport operators have offered upgrades to residents when air traffic increased. Other airport operators offer noise mitigation packages to far more residents using a far higher percentage of their own finances. And they do it under the same FAA regulations.

In short, more is possible. A lot more. Even within the current constraints of the Federal law.

If you’re interested in details about this I’d be happy to share it with your group and council. Frankly, we here are stunned that no one else has gathered this sort of comparative data before as we think every person living near an airport should know how their airport rates compared to other cities.  Because the only way to determine if you’re getting a fair deal is to see what everyone else is getting, right?

In closing I again want to make a distinction between the government of SeaTac and the people who actually live in SeaTac. The Port does provide significant benefits for SeaTac through the ILA. But when I write ‘SeaTac’ I mean the government. The people I represent feel a profound disconnect between the positive experiences of the government and their actual lives–and thus the resentment. They have always felt that they deserved better from the Port Of Seattle and the facts from other airport operators bear this out.



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