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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 30, 2009 at 4:00 PM

funding for state ferries

Senate budget doesn’t support commuter base

As much as I want to congratulate the Senate in Olympia on their budget that provides Washington State Ferries with much needed replacement boats, I can’t [“Senate plan funds viaduct, 520,” Local News, March 26].

The budget identifies four new 64-car ferries. Of the 23 million yearly riders aboard WSF, this acquisition of vessels only helps the 3 percent who ride the Port Townsend-Keystone route.

In looking even closer, I realize that this small contingent of folks reside in the district state Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, the chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. The senator seems to have singularly made this decision ignoring consultants and community study group recommendations as well as the needs of the other 97 percent of ferry users.

First, Sen. Haugen prevented the ferry system from moving the Keystone Harbor to accommodate the larger vessels planned to the route. Next, she tells the ferry system not to repair the Steel Electric ferries because it costs too much money. However, magically, she finds money to build the new, smaller boats for her district, and to the benefit of a boat builder in her district.

The rest of the system needs the bigger boats. In places other than Port Townsend-Keystone, where most of the WSF ridership is supported, there are large commuter bases that depend on reliable ferry service to and from work every day. A fleet of 64-car ferries just won’t cut it!

— Gary Dawson, chair, Fauntleroy Ferry Advisory Committee, Seattle

Comments | More in Transportation, Washington State Ferries

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