Ferry Advisory Committee Executive Council comments on SB 3451

Another important piece of legislation being considered in this session concerns a proposal to reorganize the Ferry Advisory Committee on Tariffs (FACT). This is a message from Walt Elliot, FAC Executive Council Co-chair:

The Executive Council has reviewed and strongly supports this bill [SB 3451]. Please advise us on anything that we can do to help its success. Below is a summary comments that we have and a marked up version of the bill is attached. In making these comments we fully understand that you may consider some or all will of them may reduce the bill’s chances for success and need to be changed or eliminated. We fully trust your judgment on this matter.

Summary of proposed changes to S-3451

  • We identify the legislative intent to recognize the respective roles of the FAC Executive Committee and the Ferry Advisory Committee on Tariffs. As Sen Haugen and Rep Clibborn were both involved in the formation of the FAC-T, we want to make it clear this is what we’re talking about and that this bill is consistent with those discussions. When the FAC-T was formed with legislative participation we and WSF commented that it needed some experience before being incorporated into legislation. Now that it has had that experience the legislation is appropriate and in our view needed. We also deferred on the role of reviewing WSF cost data and savings trade-offs, as at the time the FAC-T was untried and needed to focus on its tariff role. Again now that the role appropriate and needed by both the Council and FAC-T.
  • We clean up some previous language to reflect how the FACs and Council currently function in the areas of reviews of system performance, number of members , Council name, frequency of meetings, and the existence of the mutually agreed charter of operations that we currently have with WSF.
  • We include the capital budget in the items that the Exec Council and FAC-T review.
  • We recommend eliminating the statement requiring participation be a local government planning body or staff. As we are appointed by and accountable to our locally elected officials we think this is sufficient. We think that putting this member on the FAC places a large unfunded burden on County staff at a time of greatly reduced resources. On or Kingston FAC we do have a Planning Commission Member however given the frequency of commission meetings that she must attend adding the FAC to that is a large burden for a volunteer.
  • We limit the amount the commission can raise fare revenue to that which is assumed in the biennial budget. In this way the Commission is clearly following what the legislature has voted upon per I-1053 and the Attorney General’s opinion.
  • We include Council and FACT review of ferry rider survey questions relating to operations, service, fares, fare policy, media policy. We think that this is necessary if the legislature is to have confidence in survey results. This review had previously been done with WSF rider surveys and the review significantly improved survey quality by identifying where questions were confusion or ambiguous. While the Commission allowed a review of the first part of their first survey they have not since.

Walt Elliott

Council Co-chair

Here is a link to the draft bill, with comments added: FAC Exec. Council comments on S- 3541.doc

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