I did attend the FCP meeting in Bremerton on January 7, 2012. I waited to post my notes as I wanted Jim and Adrienne to have an opportunity to first share a recap at this past week’s Ferry Advisory Committee meeting on Lopez.
My notes are posted below along with suggested action steps every reader can take to help keep the needs of ferry-served communities front and center during this short legislative session. We need any help you can provide!
Summary—FCP Meeting January 7, 2012
I was able to join the meeting at about 12:20 p.m. Here is a summary of important points covered while I was there.
Lobbying Efforts—Members of FCP, many of whom are local officials, are taking advantage of a the fact that the Association of Washington Cities will be in Olympia January 25 and 26 for local officials to spend some time lobbying members of the transportation committees of both the House and the Senate.
45 appointment requests have been sent and so far five responses have been received. FCP needs people who can help schedule appointments once a response is received and also needs people who can go to Olympia.
- If you can meet with legislators on January 25 or 26, please let Adam Brockus know ASAP. (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
- If you can’t be in Olympia on January 25 or 26, but are available other dates between January 16 and February 3, please contact Adam Brockus immediately to let him know when you are available. (Email: email@example.com)
- Mayor Lent’s office (Bremerton) is overseeing scheduling meetings, but her staff person needs some help. This is something that could be done remotely. So, if you have a little time and could help out, again, please let Adam Brockus know (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Talking Points—Jim Corenman has print copies of the draft that was discussed during the meeting. It will be finalized at next Saturday’s meeting, but the following was mentioned.
- Long Range Ferry Construction. Five ferries need to be built over the next decade. There is currently funding for one 144-car. It would be cost effective to begin a second 144-car boat in December 2012 as Vigor would be ready to go at that time. FCP’s current message to legislators will be to build two boats as quickly as possible and then discuss how the next three boats will be funded and when.
*Possible funding sources include a bill similar to HB2053 which raised license fees to support a variety of transportation projects statewide and could have been a source of sustained funding. This bill passed the House and stalled in the Senate the last day of the last session. Also possible is a proposed 11 cent gas tax that would be phased in over a 3 year period, if approved.
2. Marine Jobs Bill (Rep. Morris). As part of higher ed act this bill would keep ferry construction jobs in Washington State by ensuring that we have skilled personnel who can do the job. Also retains training and expertise for local shipyards.
3. Ferry Accountability Act of 2012 (Rep. Seaquist). Based on the successful model of the Advisory Committee that has worked with officials on tolling for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. This committee would serve in an advisory capacity to the Transportation Commission on all matters related to changes in ferry fares and operating budget savings and efficiencies.
1. Review the Ferry Community Partnership Talking Points 2012 document to familiarize yourself with the focus areas for this legislative session
2. Sign up for the FCP listserv. Once the session is in full swing, this will change quickly. The listserv is a good place to get up-to-date information. To subscribe to the 4fcp Yahoo! group: Send an email to this address- email@example.com. Include ‘subscribe’ in the subject line.
3. Subscribe to the San Juan Islands Ferry Group Website (sjiferrygroup.wordpress.com). This group works closely with the FCP, but also addresses San Juan Islands-specific issues as well.
4. WSF is identified as being one of the top tourist attractions in the state. FCP needs current information on tourism in the San Juan Islands and how the ferry system impacts this (both positively and negatively). Are there a couple of people who would be willing to research this and generate a short brief? (Contact Susan Brooks-Young: firstname.lastname@example.org)
On-going FCP meetings
The FCP will be meeting weekly from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. throughout the legislative session. Most meetings will be in Bremerton, but there is a possibility for one meeting in Bremerton and one or two meetings in Seattle.
Now that the Winter Schedule is in effect, it is difficult for everyone to travel to meetings outside their local area, but it is important to support the relationships we are developing in all ferry-served communities.
- Attend meetings virtually: Adam Brockus is working with IT staff in Bremerton to launch use of Skype during Saturday morning meetings. This would make it possible for interested parties to participate in meetings without having to travel. Skype supports free conference calls with up to 25 participants (http://bit.ly/wOvGLb) as long as everyone is using Skype accounts (also free). In order to participate this way, you: need a Skype account; need to share the account information with Susan Young (SJBrooks@aol.com) who will pass it along to Adam Brockus; and, over the next couple of months, you need to let Adam know which meeting(s) you want to participate in as he needs to call you in.Since bandwidth is an issue on Lopez, it might be helpful to have a small group meet at the library or similar location to participate that way.
- Meeting in Anacortes: Susan is working literally every weekend through early April. If we want an FCP meeting in Anacortes during this session, she is willing to help with planning, but cannot actually attend. If you would be willing to help organize a meeting up here and then be available that day, please contact her at SJBrooks@aol.com.