Port of Moses Lake seeks grants to entice aerospace companies

By Cameron Probert, September 8, 2014, iFiber One News

The Port of Moses Lake is hoping for a state grant to help attract aerospace companies.

Outgoing Director Pat Jones and incoming Director Jeff Bishop met with the Grant County commissioners on Monday to ask them to submit the application for the state grant. The money would allow the port to begin environmental studies as a way to prepare for businesses that may look at port land.

The state started the program as part of tax-break extension for Boeing, Jones said. The Legislature agreed to set $2 million aside for grants to prepare environmental analysis for current and future large manufacturing sites for aerospace companies.

“At the time, there were some local government officials who were saying, ‘It’s virtually impossible to permit a project of this scale and size in a timely way,’” Jones said. “(They said), ‘If you want to keep Boeing and attract big time aerospace to the state, give us some help in pre-permitting potentially these sites for that use.’”

Since the program was created, the cities of Everett and Spokane used roughly $750,000 for studies looking at possible ways the land can be used by aerospace companies, and study the possible environmental impacts, he said. The studies are required by state law before a building can be constructed.

“This is the proverbial ‘shovel-ready’ site, or at least as close to ‘shovel-ready’ in Washington as you can get it,” Bishop said.

The cost of the analysis hasn’t been determined yet, Jones said.

“This money has to be expended by the end of June 2015,” he said. “After three years, I’m a deep believer in this land for an aerospace purpose, and Jeff is too.”

The commissioners expressed support for the idea, saying they planned to take a formal vote about on it at a future meeting.

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