Spokane Airport and PFD Chart Updates

I was asked to update some charts (this blog is not coming back to life but I may update some additional charts too).

Spokane International Airport and Felts Field Usage Trends

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Passenger usage has been a flat line for 30 years. When passenger counts went up from 2003 to 2007, the Airport and local officials said passenger counts were a proxy for the local economy. A larger post on airport trends through 2014, including links to data sources, is here.

The next chart measures take offs and landings at Felts Field.

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Data: US Bureau of Transportation Statistics, FAA

Spokane PFD Facilities Trend

image-9Data: Spokane PFD and Community Indicators of Spokane.

Since the economic depression in Spokane, the PFD’s attendance has rebounded but remains below the 2010, 2007 and 2001 peaks. A regression line drawn from 2001 to the present is a slight downwards trend.

Through 2015 end of year:

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Reminder: The PFD conducted local economic impact studies for 2007 and 2010 and claimed these two years were representative of every year. 2007 and 2010 are represented by the two large spikes in the orange curve above; history shows they were not representative of the PFD’s normal impact on the Spokane economy.

How Many Events at the Spokane Arena Required the 2012 Seat Expansion?

In 2012, the Spokane PFD went to voters with a campaign to expand the Spokane Arena, saying the NCAA would require 12,000 “sellable” seats to hold future NCAA events at the Arena. The then 12,000 seat arena did not have enough seats to have 12,000 “sellable” seats (many seats are used by media, bands, cheer teams and others and were not “sellable”). The expansion led to a total of 12,638 potential seats in it largest seating configuration.

After the election was held, the NCAA reset the seating requirement  down to 10,000 “sellable” seats. The PFD kept this quiet and local media hid this change for months. See NCAA reduces seating requirements; Spokane PFD’s Arena expansion no longer required.

But at least the Arena would have more seats to fill at other events, they said.

How many events in 2015 filled the new seating capacity?

Zero.

Source: 2015 Year End Report, page 52 (published by the Spokane PFD).

2015pfd-topevents

In 2014, a state high school basketball tournament exceeded 13,000 attendance, but this is not individual game attendance for two reasons:

  1. The maximum seating capacity for the Arena, when configured for basketball, is 12,210. The maximum seating for any configuration is 12,638.
  2. They combined attendance of multiple games played on the same day at the Arena (which is how the PFD typically presents attendance figures). Old event schedules indicate there were 3 to 8 games played each day of the tournaments. Thus, the Arena did not reach the new full capacity.

Related old posts:

EXCLUSIVE: No correlation between Convention Center and Airport usage

The Convention Center is said to be an economic driver that brings in outside visitors to Spokane, and this is the justification for continually expanding the facilities.  In just a few years, the PFD will seek additional taxes to expand again.

Does this economic driver work? Here is a comparison of airport usage versus convention center usage. Visually, there is no correlation; statistically, the R-squared value of the correlation is 1.6% (meaning zilch correlation).

AirVsConvention

If the Convention Center brings in outside visitors, they do not arrive by air or the number is so insignificant as to have no impact.

The air passenger data was scaled to a similar range to the Convention Center attendance for the purpose of comparison. In the chart above, the Y-axis shows convention center attendance; multiply by 10 for the air passenger number.

There is no correlation with jobs, either.

The top 2 largest events account for more than 25% of all usage:

  • Bloomsday, 47,346 people
  • PNQ Volleyball, 44,461 people

Outside of those two events, the remaining events average less than 700 people per day, the rest of the year. 

The Convention Center was just expanded so it can accommodate large events. Unfortunately, for a facility designed to accommodate up to 6,500 people, actual utilization is closer to 10% of best case, most of the year.

Spokane Convention Center Usage By Month

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Spokane Arena By Month

For many months, the facility is almost unused.

SpokaneArenaByMonth

Spokane INB Performing Arts Center

The INB Performing Arts Center is barely used for several months of the year.

SpokaneINBByMonthAll charts come from the SpokanePFD.org web site and the 2014 end of year annual report produced by the Spokane PFD.

Keep this in mind when in 2 or 3 more years, the Spokane PFD comes asking for more money for yet another expansion of their empty facilities.

Hoopfest Ironman

EXCLUSIVE: Spokane Public Facilities District (PFD) Attendance thru 2014

The following charts show the attendance trend through the end of 2014 for Spokane PFD facilities.

The upward growth at the right of the combined “all facilities” attendance is due almost entirely to a sharp upwards trend at the Convention Center in 2014. Combined facilities attendance trend still remains slightly down over the 15 year period since 2000.

AllFacilities

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The Convention Center experienced its first significant increase in attendance in a decade. Two events accounted for nearly 30% of all usage during the entire year. (Most of the year, the facility is used sparsely with small meetings of 100 or so people each day.)

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This increase occurred prior to the completion of the third expansion of the Convention Center facilities, which opened in early 2015.  After more than a dozen years of flat to downward usage, and three taxpayer funded expansion projects, the CC has broken through its past “no growth” ceiling.

The above charts have never appeared in any Spokane media outlets – the attendance figures are intended to be top secret, apparently. All data comes from the Spokane PFD.

#Spokane City Council versus #RachelDolezal

City council president Ben Stuckart says the candidates were interviewed by city council members or the mayor, and then reviewed once again.

via Process of vetting candidates for citizen police ombudsman commi – Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com.

They admit they looked at a credit report, although its not clear they cared about what they would have found. Or that they cared.

Rachel Dolezal: 1, City Council: 0

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Rachel Dolezal: 1  Mary Cullinan, President, Eastern Washington University: 0

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Rachel Dolezal: 1,  Spokane Mayor David Condon: 0

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Rachel Dolezal: 1, Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore City, State’s Prosecutor: 0

 

 

Spokane City Council fires #RachelDolezal from OPOC

Rachel Dolezal fired by unanimous vote of Spokane City Council. More here.

Predictable outcome.

Spokane’s non-existent economic development agencies

Wonderful essay from the SpokanePlanner about Spokane’s delegation of “public economic development activities to private, non-profit organizations is dysfunctional (at best)” and laced with secrecy and good ol’boy backscratching:

For Spokane’s Holy Trinity to succeed, success is defined as how much they panhandle from Spokane’s business and governmental community, and not necessarily defined by truly cause and effect economic development.

Fundraising, grant writing, and generally asking other people for money is not an economic development strategy; to the contrary, it’s what you do when you don’t have an economic development strategy.

SpokanePlanner believes the PFD is one of the most effective economic development agencies in Spokane. However, as shown on this blog, the PFD’s track record based on the objective metric of attendance and usage, is awful:

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If that sort of poor performance gets ranked as a top economic development agency, then Spokane is doomed to a dim future.

Incredibly, the State Auditor found the PFD, in a fit of little league corruption, handed out big bonuses to staff in 2004 based on creative accounting. Look at the attendance charts, above, for 2004 – that deserved bonus payments to staff?

 

STA Proposition 1 promoters say tax will benefit Puget Sound transit!

We cannot make this stuff up – right there on their web site yesforbuses.org it says:

  • A “Yes” vote on Proposition 1 will reduce “the operating costs of Sound Transit Authority“.
  • “A “Yes” vote for increased funding for Sound Transit Authority means more than 1,000 new jobs for Spokane County.”

Here is a screen capture of their web page – click for full size view.

YesForBuses

Guess they copied old campaign literature from Sound Transit, an organization that was officially known as Regional Transit Authority but began using the name “Sound Transit” in 1997 (not Sound Transit Authority).

STA plans to purchase the Tesla of buses: Have we forgotten the STA’s hybrid bus boondoggle (or this)? Apparently.

There’s nothing wrong with seeking expansions and improvements in public transit. But with this history of goof ups and waste, should STA be trusted?