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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

February 1, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Washington State Ferries

Saddling riders with the state’s responsibility

I am writing in response to state Rep. Judy Clibborn’s recent column [“Finding smoother waters for Washington ferries,” Jan. 26] describing the plight of Washington State Ferries (WSF). While for the most part accurate, some pertinent points were omitted.

The first is that WSF is sustainable. What has happened is the state Legislature has not stepped up to adequately and appropriately fund this constitutionally mandated marine highway, replacing the funds lost to AMVETS and necessarily subsidizing operating costs and capital needs.

Instead, they have increased fares as much as 10 percent annually since 1999 in an attempt to saddle the riders with the state’s responsibility.

Further, Rep. Clibborn does not tell us that the “Legislature’s own ferry-go policy group” was dissolved this past November and is no longer working.

And lastly, it has been her transportation committee, under her leadership, that has stifled many pieces of legislation during past and current sessions which would have solved or at least mitigated WSF’s current problems. It is this kind of legislative leadership, which puts a positive spin on its failure to perform, that is devastating economically, socially and culturally to ferry-dependent communities and Washington State Ferries.

— Dennis Cziske, Hansville

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