On August 19, 2004, the Airport Communities Coalition drops its opposition to the Seattle-Tacoma (Sea-Tac) International Airport third runway after spending $15 million over 10 years campaigning and litigating against the project. Construction of the 8,500-foot runway will resume and will be completed in 2008. The runway is needed to reduce air-travel delays during bad weather and has been planned since 1988.
The cities of Burien, Tukwila, Des Moines, and Normandy Park formed the Airport Communities Coalition in 1993 to stopped the proposed construction of the third runway. The coalition was eventually expanded to include the Highline School District and the City of Federal Way. The group used lawsuits and appeals to contest studies and permits. The effort was abandoned when the State Supreme Court ruled against the group and allowed an environmental permit to stand.
Des Moines Mayor Bob Sheckler stated, "Our efforts over the past 10 years have resulted in enormous gains for the communities that surround the airport and the people who are affected by its operations. The Port, the FAA and the state of Washington have stepped up to provide $150 million to our schools to improve our children's learning environment, thousands of homes have been insulated to reduce the effects of jet noise and the most stringent permits in the history of our state have been issued that will protect our streams and environmentally sensitive areas from the impacts of the third runway" (Tribune).
The third runway was needed because the existing two runways were too close together and only one could be used in bad weather. The third runway was completed in 2008 at a cost of more than $1 billion.