“”Without new funding our ferry system will not survive as we know it,” Gov. Chris Gregoire told Washington’s legislator’s as she unveiled a $3.6 billion transportation package to address the state’s projected funding shortfall for its programs Tuesday morning in Olympia.” Thus begins an article published by SanJuanJournal.com on Jan. 12, 2012.
“Solution for state ferry system?” does a good job laying out the current issues faced by the ferry system and explains the governor’s proposal for generating revenue. The article is available in its entirety here.
Please take a few minutes to read it. As it gets closer to time to contact elected officials to encourage them to support funding for ferries, this will give you important background information.
In January 2011, Rep. Larry Seaquist predicted that the ferry caucus, a bipartisan group of legislators representing Puget Sound’s ferry communities, would take the governor up on her request for alternatives to her proposals for the ferries. Late last week, the group did just that.
In a letter to the governor, the ferry caucus laid out its case for maintaining current levels of service, building a new boat large enough to handle mid-sized runs (144-cars), and becoming responsible stewards of the state’s entire transportation system. The group also included suggestions for how these goals can be accomplished and ways to deal with the current fiscal crisis.
Click these links to access the full text of the letter and supporting document.
Alex MacLeod is a former chair of the San Juan Ferry Advisory Committee. He recently published a guest column in the Seattle Times and the following piece which appeared in the Island Guardian and has a more local flavor. So what are potential solutions? We really need to come up with some viable alternatives. Have an idea? Post it here as a comment.
02/13/2011: “– Guest Column –”
By Alex MacLeod
It appears the time finally has come to acknowledge that the state no longer considers ferries a part of the state highway system, despite the fact that the state Constitution clearly says they are.
Howie Rosenfeld, chair of our local Ferry Advisory Committee (FAC) recently wrote a report for the FAC Executive Committee regarding a meeting held on January 27 with the governor and representatives of ferry-served communities. He has given permission for the report to be posted here for your review.
*My numbers are from rough from sketchy notes, so they may be off, but I wanted to get a report out.
January 29, 2011
In David Moseley’s weekly email he mentions the meeting between the governor and county representatives of the proposed regional ferry district last Thursday. Most of the nine counties were represented, and I was pleased that eastsiders Skagit, Snohomish, King and Pierce were at the table.
Six Puget Sound state senators formed a bipartisan group to develop a plan in response to the ferry proposal announced earlier this month by Governor Gregoire. The plan is comprised of several bills designed to cut costs through more efficient operations and by addressing high employee costs. C.B. Hall describes the plan in his article, Legislators counter Gregoire’s ferry plan with one of their own, published on Crosscut.com on 1/24/11. The article caught my eye because concerns related to the San Juan Islands are addressed, including an interview with Howie Rosenfeld of our local Ferry Advisory Committee. It’s an interesting read.
San Juan County Council has responded to the call for letters to the governor regarding the current fiscal situation and WSF. The letter makes several excellent points and offers food for thought. If you have not yet written your letter to the governor, you may want to look at this first. If you have already sent your letter, this document includes many important talking points as things move forward.
Here is the full text of the letter which is also linked on the Documents page:
Many of the opinion pieces about the governor’s regional ferry plan seem to originate from down the sound, so I was pleased to see a guest column written by a resident of Orcas Island that appeared on Friday, January 21 on IslandsSounder.com. Although the governor’s regional plan for the ferries appears to be dying or already dead, many of the points made in this column are germane to the ongoing discussion about the future of WSF. It’s important that those of us who live in the San Juans make sure that our voices continue to be heard. As you well know, unlike most ferry riders, we (and residents of Vashon Island) have no drive around option. Here is a link to the blog post.