[EDITOR’S NOTEThe following is a Letter to the Editor, written and submitted by verified resident. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of South King Media, nor its staff.]

It was a long time coming and there is still much to be worked out, but the Port of Seattle is reaching out to some 3,200 area residents whose homes were outfitted with noise mitigation packages that have since failed. If you receive a survey invitation from the Port, you could help get this effort to the next stage by taking part in the initial assessment and I encourage you to do so.

The survey is a huge first step toward correcting a problem that for decades has plagued people in communities adjacent to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport—mainly residents who live beneath or close to the airport flight paths. 

Many of these folks cannot afford to fix their failed “Port packages.” After years of effort by local, state and federal officials, there is now at least enough funding for the Port to launch a pilot program to assess how many homeowners need assistance—and what a comprehensive repair program might cost. 

The Repair and Replacement Pilot Program covers not only homeowners who originally contracted for the noise mitigation work, but also any subsequent buyer who now owns one of these properties. All 3,200 homes included in the survey are located in a corridor identified by the Federal Aviation Administration as high-noise. Port officials need a strong survey response so they can best assess what’s required going forward. 

Funding for a full-scale remediation program remains uncertain. Efforts to change the law failed recently in Congress, so it’s still illegal to use federal funds to fix Port packages originally paid for with federal dollars. The Washington state legislature was poised to provide $10 million but balked over fears of a budget crisis that would be triggered by the threatened repeal of the state’s landmark (and lucrative) Climate Commitment Act.

It’s a shame more help won’t be available sooner to these homeowners who have been waiting for relief for many years already. But the door is open a crack. Help us keep pushing by returning those surveys!

–Brian Davis

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