Hillsboro Airport Parallel Runway Project
In 2009, the Port of Portland (Port) proposed to construct a parallel runway at HIO. The runway had been previously identified in the 2005 Hillsboro Airport Master Plan and Compatibility Study Update as a way to reduce congestion, delay and improve efficiency at HIO. An Environmental Assessment (EA) looked at several alternatives to the runway proposal. In addition, the EA thoroughly analyzed potential environmental impacts including air emissions, noise, traffic, and effects on wetlands and wildlife. The environmental review process also included a 43-day public comment period and numerous public meetings.
In 2010, the FAA completed a review of the HIO Parallel Runway 12L/30R Environmental Assessment and issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) on January 8, 2010.
Members of the community challenged the decision in court and in August 2011, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit remanded the matter back to the FAA for further consideration. Specifically, the court remanded the case to the FAA with instructions to consider the environmental impact of increased demand resulting from the new runway, if any.
The Port worked with the FAA to develop information that responds to the court’s remand order, and to determine the best approach for analyzing the issue the court identified. In response, a Draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment (SEA) was developed. The Draft SEA was available for review and public comment for a 35 day public comment period from March 15, 2013 through April 19, 2013. Since that time, responses to all public comments received during the public comment period have been prepared. The SEA has also been revised based on public comments received.
The runway project is made possible by federal and state grants. The Port has received $9.65 million from the Federal Aviation Administration and $4.0 million from Connect Oregon III, a state program to help fund non-road transportation projects. The total approved project budget is currently $17.2 million, which includes costs for the Environmental Assessment and wetland mitigation.
The FAA is currently reviewing the revised Draft SEA. It is anticipated that they will issue their Record of Decision sometime in late 2013/early 2014.
For additional information about the project, please contact Marla Harrison, Environmental Operations Manager, or call 503.415.6833.