Port offers landmark investments to serve people and planet


Port of Seattle Executive Director Steve Metruck today introduced the Port’s 2023 Budget and Five-Year Capital Plan, proposing historic investments in our facilities and organization. These investments will enable the Port to support key industries, be a leader in environmental sustainability and meet the needs of the people who depend on the Port, even in uncertain times. The Commission will hear the proposal in first reading at its public meeting on November 8 before considering its final adoption on November 29.

Key investments include a five-year, $5.3 billion capital plan, the largest in the port’s history, as well as increased funding for airport customer service, environmental programs, community initiatives and workforce development.

A rebound in travel has enabled the Port to increase reinvestment in its activity. Passenger volume at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) reached nearly 90% of 2019 record highs, while cruise ship passenger volume exceeded all-time highs by 6%. The opening of the airport’s new international arrivals facility and modernized Marine Container Terminal 5, through the Northwest Seaport Alliance, contributed to the increase in activity.

At the same time, severe inflation, international conflicts, supply chain issues, a tight labor market, growing demand for travel and trade, and the impacts of climate change have posed new challenges to our community. , to our workforce, to the port’s business sectors and to our partners.

“Local industries and the community need us to deliver more than ever,” said Executive Director Steve Metruck. “This balanced budget and capital plan responds to regional needs with more essential services and programs, as well as historic new investments that deliver in the short and long term for people and the planet.

“In times of change, those who can adapt quickly fare better,” said Ryan Calkins, Chairman of the Port of Seattle Commission. “Because of the vital role the port plays in our local economy, we must continue to make major strides in transformational initiatives such as decarbonizing port-related industries and modernizing our airport. Careful stewardship by management, values-based leadership by the Commission, and close partnership with industry and the community will continue to drive our success.

Capital investments

The 2023-2027 Capital Plan invests a historic $5.3 billion in the port’s aviation, marine transportation and economic development operating divisions to ensure our facilities meet business and sustainability today and next generation. The airport’s $4.6 billion capital investment makes travel more predictable and efficient while meeting safety, regulatory, accessibility and sustainability standards. Featured airport capital projects include terminal and concourse improvements through the SEA Gateway program, the Concourse C expansion and the Baggage Modernization Project.

Marine and ESD projects worth $522.3 million over the next five years improve safety and sustainability, support well-paying jobs in construction and the marine industry, and anchor our region as a leader of maritime line. Featured marine and economic development projects include wharf replacement at Terminal 91, electrification at Pier 66, and development of new marine industrial space at Terminal 106 and Terminal 91. The total proposed investment budget for 2023 is $725.8 million.
The port will also pay $276.4 million to the Northwest Seaport Alliance for container terminal upgrades and expansions at both ports, such as the completion of Terminal 5, as well as operational upgrades and environmental sustainability. The Ports of Seattle and Tacoma each contribute 50% of the costs to fund the NWSA’s five-year capital improvement plan.

Capital projects continue to be the Port’s largest expense category. In 2023, capital expenditures represent 39% of the port’s budget and up to 43.5%, including Northwest Seaport Alliance projects.

Investments in the workforce

The port depends on a workforce that is safe, trained, resourced and ready for the job ahead. To that end, the proposed budget for 2023 invests more in people and programs than any budget in recent years. After the pandemic-related hiring freeze, the budget adds full-time employees and contractors to improve customer services and advance initiatives across all divisions of the port. The new employees will focus on airport customer service, capital project delivery, the port’s growing environmental portfolio and tribal government relations.

Community Investments

The proposed budget for 2023 invests an additional $2.5 million in community initiatives, for a total of $19.1 million. Featured initiatives include workforce development; the South King County Community Impact Fund; Diversity in procurement programs; major initiatives of our Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion; and tourism marketing support for smaller destinations in Washington State.

The port’s operating divisions have all employed an equity strategy in budgeting by proposing personnel, initiatives and financing. An equity approach to budgeting leads to greater investment in ensuring diversity in contracts, expanded employee development and recruitment, new investment in access to port materials and facilities, and increased funding awareness. Port officials informed the Commission of the proposed budget and capital plan at several public sessions and offered an additional public information session at open houses in October.

The proposed budget for 2023 also includes $17.7 million for environmental initiatives and $11.9 million for customer experience initiatives. Highlights of programs that benefit people and the planet include:

  • $4,962,000 for a multi-year contract to increase airport customer service
  • $1,250,000 to support the delivery of sustainable aviation fuel at SEA airport and advocacy to encourage increased production and deployment
  • $1,000,000 for the port Aquarium Strategic Relationship for maritime industries and habitat conservation education
  • $400,000 to accelerate the elimination of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, called “PFAS”Port fire fighting foam
  • $350,000 to improve park accessibility, with an early accent on He? Apus Park and Riparian Habitat
  • $462,000 to support the Duwamish Valley Community Equity Program
  • $200,000 to explore maritime economic development opportunities in the offshore wind industrythere
  • $200,000 to support exploration of a first-of-its-kind cruise-focused Green Corridor between Alaska, British Columbia and Washington
  • $100,000 to study the feasibility of a Public Market and South King County Commissioner
  • $100,0000 included to conduct outreach activities and explore the feasibility of a childcare center for airport workers and employees

Property tax

As a public port in Washington, the port can exercise limited property taxation authority. The port continues to maintain a low levy rate by maximizing operating revenues, fees and obligations. In 2023, the fee provides only 4.1% of the port’s funds.

The proposed tax levy for 2023 is $82.7 million, an increase of 2% over 2022. The median homeowner in King County will pay approximately $78.42 in taxes to the Port of Seattle in 2023, on the basis of an estimated median King County home value of $830,000 in 2023.

The levy funds debt service payments on general obligation bonds, as well as strategic investments in job creation, environmental sustainability and community programs. The airport operates without any tax revenue. SEA’s funding comes from fees, rents or leases in place with airlines, tenants and travellers.

2023 Operating Budget Summary

  • Total operating revenue: $953.7 million; $186.8 million or 24.4% more than Budget 2022
  • Total operating expenses: $573.4 million; $74.3 million or 14.9% more than Budget 2022
  • Net operating income before amortization: $380.3 million; $112.5 million or 42% more than the 2022 budget


Peter McGraw | Port of Seattle Media Manager
(206) 787-3446 | mcgraw.p@portseattle.org


Comments are closed.