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Does the Seattle area need a second airport, or just a bigger one?

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Would commercial flights out of Paine Field make a difference?

If you've spent any time waiting in a security line at Sea-Tac Airport recently, you know that it's getting a bit crowded in there. Among America's 20 biggest airports, it's the fastest-growing of them all, and it's expected to see 66 million people scamper through it's terminals by 2034, which would be double the number that do so now.

Something's gotta give and Allison Williams at Seattle Met dug into the question of whether or not a second airport might be the answer for the region.

Paine Field in Everett has long been considered an ideal spot to set up a secondary commercial airport for the region. Something akin to the way tiny Long Beach Airport offsets some of the burden placed on nearby LAX in Los Angeles.

The FAA has already signed off and Everett mayor Ray Stephanson is on board. Dissention from the city of Mukilteo over the threat of increased noise and pollution was shot down by a court and plans to expand Paine Field are currently in the design stage.

But does that even do anything to allieviate the pressure facing Sea-Tac? It's debatable, considering the number of commercial flights wouldn't be huge and would be more likely to focus on regional or smaller trips.

Meanwhile, Sea-Tac is looking to add 35 gates as well as 16 new gates for wide-body jets that make runs to and from Asia. New International facilities are also in the works and are expected to be done by 2019.

It sounds as though while Paine could give North Sounders some relief from long drives and traffic headaches, it probably won't do too much. In the end, it'll be up to Sea-Tac to stay ahead of the curve.