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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 16, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Ferry funding: Should Washington have gotten more, or none at all?

Murray shows her priorities

Editor, The Times:

Sen. Patty Murray barely raised an eyebrow while for eight years the Bush administration shredded the Constitution. Now we see what makes her furious: money [“Ferries get funds after all,” page one, July 16].

— Tom Ballard, Seattle

Whining for ferry funds has everything to do with recession

When I first heard about our governor whining about not getting enough of President Obama’s bailout money for our ferry system, it took me back to my childhood, remembering the wining of children when they didn’t get as many Christmas presents that “Johnny” did.

“Why did Johnny get more presents than I got?” was the cry of many children back then. Everyone looks at this money spread around the states as presents, but these presents are not free, my friends.

The money will have to be paid back, and when the states cannot find the revenue to pay back this loan, John Q. Public will be hit up for more taxes and business will suffer the same fate. Chaos will result, and the real recession will be on us. The cap-and-trade bill and health-care reform, if passed, will further damage our economy and raise prices.

Had Obama — and George W. Bush — allowed the recession to happen normally rather than trying to fix it by throwing money at it, we would now be on our way to recovery.

These downturns have happened many times before because that is the way of capitalism, but as in all past instances, the nation has risen to new heights of employment and prosperity. I’m convinced it is too late to turn things around now, but we must try by contacting our representatives in Congress and letting them know all this free money is not really free, and ask them to defeat what the Obama administration has put before them.

It’s our only chance to stop this nonsense.

— Ed Anderson, Kirkland

Where is the change in ferry finances?

In light of the fact that the people of Washington were shafted regarding the ferry money handout, I wonder what our good governor thinks about that “hope and change” thingy now.

— Richard King, Seattle

Really, a ferry terminal? Let’s keep idiocy to a minimum

When my son was a teenager he had a phrase we often got a kick out of, and it went like this: “Let’s keep the idiocity level to a minimum.”

Gov. Chris Gregoire is “extremely disappointed and asking questions” as to why we were denied $56 million in federal allocations for the state and county ferry systems [“Feds snub biggest ferry fleet,” page one, July 15]. Of that $56 million, $26 million was to be used on a brand new, state-of-the-art ferry terminal in Anacortes. The ferries are in constant need of repair and maintenance, our fares go higher and higher and they want to spend that kind of money on a new building?

Equally disappointed and “furious” to learn that we were ignored, Patty Murray managed to get the feds to fork over $7.6 million. Out of that, $3 million will be spent on a design of a replacement ferry terminal in Anacortes — $3 million will be wasted on a stack of paperwork that amounts to nearly half of our precious allocation.

What we actually need help with is boats that run, not a place to wait for them.

You can’t even imagine how angry people traveling to the San Juans will be to see that kind of money going into a terminal — or a terminal proposal. Perhaps when the feds snubbed the governor they were keeping the “idiocity level to a minimum.”

— C.K. Nichols, Lopez Island

The folly of bridges outweighs that of ferries

I enjoy Danny Westneat’s column usually, but I found his column “The folly of foot ferries” [NWWednesday, July 15] to be missing quite a few pieces of the puzzle.

If Westneat is going to poke holes in the plan for an alternative for crossing Lake Washington (or any other body of water around here), he should at least seriously investigate the alternatives. Let’s start with the hundreds of millions of dollars it costs to construct a bridge across Lake Washington — and that’s just for one bridge, also of a limited life-span and subject to periodic maintenance, as we are now enjoying on Interstate 90.

Add to that: the cost of each individual vehicle that will cross that bridge; the cost to the environment for producing all those vehicles; the real cost of the fuel that would fuel those vehicles, meaning billions in military spending to secure our oil; the environmental cost of everything spewed into the atmosphere from those vehicles; the thousands of hours of productivity lost by commuters spent sitting in those vehicles while waiting to cross that bridge.

Before long, we are talking about some real money. Westneat enjoyed quoting Fred Jarrett on “that old-time romance of boats on water.” I’ll take a cheap romance over an expensive reality any time. Talk about an “unstoppable mystique!”

— Mike Joines, Seattle

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