Tag Archives: Governor’s proposed budget

Gov. Inslee proposes free ferry rides for electric vehicles

Governor Inslee has released his proposed 2015-2017 budget, and one item has caught the eye of legislators and the media: proposal to allow electric vehicles to travel for free on ferries and HOV lanes.

From the HeraldNet:

“Electric vehicles are here and they’re here to stay,” said Charles Knutson, the governor’s transportation adviser. “We want to see them … promoted in Washington state.”

Giving drivers of electric vehicles a break on ferry fares and traveling in high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes are the ideas eliciting the sharpest rebukes from lawmakers of both parties.

“If a vehicle is driving on the ferry, regardless of how it is powered, it requires space,” said Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton. “Why would you exempt a vehicle because of its power source and require other Washingtonians to pay their bill? That’s not fair.”

Leaders of the House and Senate transportation committees seem certain that particular proposal won’t be in any funding package embraced by the Legislature.

“I don’t see where you get the votes for that,” said Rep. Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island, who chairs the House panel. “With all the different constituencies that you need to bring to the table to pass a package, this doesn’t bring a lot of people to the table.”

Inslee also wants to extend the sales tax exemption for electric vehicles.

The budget also includes funding for a final 144-car new ferry. From Inside Bainbridge:

Inslee wants to “preserve” the ferry system through 2015–17 funding of $379.9 million, with a target of a 12-year new funding increase of $600 million. The money would increase “ferry preservation base funding” to “address vessel and terminal preservation throughout the system.” This category includes funding for the Washington State Ferries Olympic class vessels in the amount of $86 million. A fourth Olympic class vessel is expected to be delivered by the end of the 2017–19 biennium.

Read the highlights of the proposed budget: 201517_highlights_transportation

Detailed breakdown of Capital Projects: transpo_project_list1517


Ferry Caucus’ Letter to Governor

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.

Update: Letters to the Governor

Barbara Nason of Lopez Island has posted her letter to the governor as a comment on our recent post about contacting the governor. Please take a moment to review her letter, then download the template, write and post your own by January 15, 2011. Please note the specific points Barbara makes. This is the kind of information we need to be sharing. All letters posted here will be forwarded to the Ferry Community Partnership (FCP) for delivery to the governor.

While on the topic of contacting the governor, here is an updated message from Kari Ulatoski of the FCP.

We need people not just to say that the wait in line will be inconvenient, but how the cuts and such will impact their businesses, communities as well as personally.

Please feel free to revise and to fit the talking points to your community. Make it polite, personal and show her how this will impact the lives of your community, neighbors, elderly and people looking for jobs. Maybe you know of someone who has been laid off and relies on the ferries for job hunting. Pass it on and let me know if you have other great ideas. [Kari’s email address is kulatosk@fhcrc.org.]

Remember, your ferry legislators all know what is being threatened. The best way is to send a letter to the governor. Our Transportation chairs know the predicament as well. Let’s give our governor good information that will help influence her decisions. Remember, as the State pulls away from funding and our property taxes go down as a result of cuts, there is more onus on our Counties to pick up the burden. Counties provide for public safety (police) and other health and human services. A cut in service will result in a decrease of property taxes and provide less money to the counties to pick up the slack.

Hope to hear from you that you have written, signed our petition and such.

Kari Ulatoski

Ferry Community Partnership

Template for letters to the governor

If you’ve been planning to write a letter to the governor regarding proposed reductions in ferry service, fare hikes, and other issues related to the recent proposed budget, now is a great time to take a few minutes and get something on paper. The FCP has created a template you can use to get your letter written quickly and easily.

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We Need Fiscal Impact Data

If you were present at the WSF Community Input meeting on December 14th or watched the archived video, you may have noticed that when Deborah Hopkins, Executive Director of the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau mentioned the tourism dollars generated annually just in Friday Harbor, she had David Moseley’s full attention. That’s because the state benefits from income generated here in the islands, not just from tourism but from all commerce. And when ferry runs are reduced, the loss of service hurts our economy.

The service cuts WSF and the governor are proposing are during the crucial “shoulder season,” when businesses are struggling from a long winter with little income. If current recommendations are implemented, we’ll be on a winter schedule from mid-October through mid-May. We need to remind Olympia that seasonal businesses cannot survive on two months’ income–they depend on the shoulder season to make or break the year.

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Petition Update

We’re certain that FCP petitions are being distributed on Lopez, San Juan, and Orcas but we’re not sure that any are being circulated on Shaw. If you are a resident of Shaw, please do what you can to gather signatures and contact Susan Young (SJBrooks@aol.com) to arrange getting them to Kari at the FCP. Or, if you know anyone who lives on Shaw, please send them a copy of the petition and ask them to collect signatures, then contact Susan.

There are four talking points we need to keep in mind as signatures are being collected. Ferry users are asking the governor and legislature to:

  • Dispense with further cuts in service and take action to refurbish the system so it can efficiently meet the needs of its customers;
  • Provide a permanent source of equitable statewide funding for building vessels;
  • Start building the 144 as soon as possible in 2012 to provide a replacement or backup boat of adequate power and capacity to our aging fleet;
  • Develop a sustainable, long term budget for WSF that caps fares at reasonable rates for ferry customers and which considers the economic and social impacts.

We realize that this is a difficult time of year to do this, but any signatures you can collect or inspire someone else to collect will help. I plan to talk with folks later today when we’re in line for the ferry.

More Information on Governor’s Proposed Budget

Here is an article from Bullwings that does a good job summarizing last night’s meeting.

Kari Ulatoski has provided more information about the additional cuts in the governor’s proposed budget, as they relate to WSF. No one is sure yet what the true impact of these recommendations would be. I am posting the full proposal (pages 24 and 25 relate to the ferries) in Documents and linking it here, but this is Kari’s summary of important points:

The service cuts are somewhat more than we first heard with additional cuts to Bremerton and Anacortes/San Juan/Sidney runs

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