New Sea-Tac terminal cost approaching $1 billion

The International Arrivals Facility

The largest construction project in decades at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is overbudget and lagging, according to a report given to Port of Seattle Commissioners.

The International Arrivals Facility, which is under construction, is going to cost nearly $1 billion, according to the Port of Seattle. When a contract for the terminal was signed in 2015, it is was expected to cost just over $608 million.

Port Commissioner Peter Steinbrueck blamed a toxic relationship between the Port and contractors for some of the problems. He said that relationship has been smoothed over and he’s “deeply engaged” in the construction process.

Steinbrueck said he is closely following what the independent panel, convened in May, is reporting.

“The schedule slipped and the costs escalated from what the original estimates were,” Steinbrueck said on Tuesday.

Steinbrueck said key leadership for both the Port and Clark Construction, the firm behind the project, have been removed to make sure the plan moves ahead smoothly.

The new terminal will offer increased passenger capacity – from 1,200 to 2,600 people per hour – and add 20 gates to the airport, according to the Port of Seattle.

“The airport arrivals facility of today, built in the 1970s, is hopelessly over capacity and underserving the needs of our international travelers today,” Steinbrueck said.

The report, delivered to the commission on Tuesday, outlines delays and added $138 million to the last estimated cost – which is about $968 million total.

The terminal project will be paid, in party, by a federal fee tacked onto all tickets into U.S. airports, according to the Port. Passengers using Sea-Tac’s new international terminal will also see some price hikes on their tickets, Steinbrueck said.

Fees on these tickets, the Port said, could range from $4 to $18 per ticket.

The remainder of the costs will be paid for using fees lodged against airport businesses.

Getting into her car on the eighth floor of the parking garage after dropping her brother off for a flight to Scotland, Nessie Martinez said she doesn’t mind the extra fee.

“But if it’s on my ticket it wouldn’t bother me,” said Martinez, who lives in Chehalis.

Steinbrueck expects the fees to pay for the project will be tacked onto passengers’ tickets for “decades.”

“The cost won’t be borne by taxpayers directly,” he said.

Terminal construction is set to wrap up in May 2020 and the facility is expected to open in August 2020.

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