Governor Inslee announces next steps to win the 777X for Washington

Story Body
  • City of Everett and Snohomish County pursue first ever “Project of Statewide Significance” designation
  • Washington Aerospace Partnership engages experts to help make the case for Washington
  • 2013 legislative sessions result in significant investments in aerospace-related education programs

Gov. Jay Inslee this morning directed the Washington State Department of Commerce to pursue expedited rulemaking as it considers designating the expansion of the Boeing Everett Plant as a “Project of Statewide Significance.” The expansion would support fabrication of carbon fiber wings for Boeing’s planned 777X, work Inslee wants to secure for Washington state.

Designating the expansion a “Project of Statewide Significance” is a key recommendation of the 777X Permitting Task Force chaired by Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson. The Everett City Council and Snohomish County Council each voted unanimously Wednesday to support the designation of the project.

“I can’t imagine a project that has more significance to the entire State of Washington than the facilities necessary to design and fabricate the 777X and its component parts,” said Governor Inslee. “We are doing all we can to ensure that we are ready to accommodate Boeing’s needs as it moves forward with this new airplane program.”

“There’s no doubt about the potential value of the 777X project to the future of our statewide aerospace sector and supply chain. We are committed to bringing together every state resource necessary to prove Washington state is the high value choice for this exciting new Boeing aircraft program,” said Commerce Director Brian Bonlender.

While created by the Legislature in 1997, the “Project of Statewide Significance” designation has yet to be used. Giving that designation to the Boeing expansion would ensure that the project receives expedited permitting and assistance from the Office of Regulatory Assistance.

Governor Inslee established the 777X Permitting Task Force when he unveiled the state’s game plan to win the project in May. It includes participation from all relevant local, state and federal agencies, including the City of Everett and Snohomish County, Snohomish County Public Utility District, Puget Sound Clean Air Authority, the Washington State Office of Regulatory Assistance, Washington State Department of Transportation, and Washington State Department of Ecology. The Task Force is expected to release a final report to the governor by the end of July.

“We believe there is sufficient capacity to assemble the 777X within Boeing’s existing footprint at the Everett Plant,” said Mayor Stephanson. “But the company may need additional space to fabricate the next generation airplane’s anticipated carbon fiber wings. We’re working hard to anticipate these requirements and will have a clear and predictable process going forward.”

The City of Everett plans to pursue amendment of its 1997 Planned Action ordinance to accommodate potential development of a 777X wing fabrication facility of up to 600,000 square feet. Similarly, Snohomish County will submit application for permits to develop an aerospace industrial park of similar size on the west side of Paine Field.

“We’re providing The Boeing Company with options,” said Snohomish County Executive John Lovick. “We believe there are a number of potential sites on which a building of the size necessary to build these very long carbon fiber wings is feasible, both inside their current property line or at Paine Field. We’re planning to provide certainty for the company whichever direction they choose to proceed.”

Additionally, the Washington Aerospace Partnership this week engaged two separate consultants to assist it in positioning the State to be as competitive as possible for the 777X. Seattle-based economic development consulting firm Community Attributes, Inc. will produce an economic benefit analysis that details the value of the aerospace industry to the economy of the state. Revel Consulting, also of Seattle, will build upon prior work performed during the 787 and 737 MAX efforts, to analyze the state’s competition for the 777X and make recommendations on what it can do to shore up its position to win not only design and final assembly of the new airplane and its wing, but also attract as much of the supply chain as possible.

“This is essential work that will help inform our efforts to win this competition and maximize its benefit to the state,” said Bob Drewel, president of the Washington Aerospace Partnership. “We intuitively know that aerospace is an important element of our economy and have ideas about what more can be done to support it, but we need to be able to articulate in dollars and cents just how essential it is to the financial wellbeing of each and every Washingtonian. And, we need to know what needs to be done to put ourselves in an even stronger position to secure these aerospace jobs for the next generation.”

The Washington Aerospace Partnership is a non-profit organization made up of business, government and organized labor organizations with a mission of protecting and growing Washington’s positions as the globally recognized leader in aerospace innovation, design and manufacturing. The consultant work is being funded through contributions by its partners from across the state, including the Governor’s Office of Aerospace.

This funding was just a portion of the more than $30 million in investments the Washington State Legislature made in support of aerospace during the 2013 Legislature and its two special sessions. These investments include:

  • $200,000 to add resources to the Office of Aerospace to support its efforts to win the 777X and execute the recently released Washington Aerospace Industry Strategy;
  • $200,000 to expand capacity of the Center of Excellence for Aerospace & Advanced Materials Manufacturing and establish it as a central resources for jobseekers looking to navigate their way toward a career in aerospace;
  • $1.15 million to establish four new aerospace skills centers, six new aerospace assembler programs, and 10 new “Project Lead the Way” aerospace engineering programs at high schools across the state;
  • $1.25 million to expand short-term student loans for aerospace students at the Washington Aerospace Training & Research Center and several community colleges;
  • $3 million to sustain the Joint Center for Aerospace Technology Innovation at the University of Washington and Washington State University;
  • $5 million to build a new multi-institutional aerospace training center in Renton; and
  • $17.6 million to expand engineering programs at the University of Washington, Washington State University, and Western Washington University.

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Media Contacts

Governor's Office of Aerospace
Alex Pietsch
Alex Pietsch