The following message comes to you from Adam Brockus of the Ferry Community Partnership. The meeting is at the Anacortes Public Library (directions linked below) and begins at 9:30 a.m.
The following message was send out by the Ferry Community Partnership. I am sharing it here in its entirety. The message is important, particularly for those of us who have no drive-around options when boats fail.
WA Ferry Coalition Members: Please see below Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent’s My Turn Op-Ed in the April 18thKitsap Sun urging passage of the transportation package and funding for new ferry construction to improve ferry fleet reliability. Please continue to Email your legislators and ask them to pass the transportation package and ferry funding.Email addresses for all legislators are available here.
Washington’s ferry system, the largest in the country, is an iconic symbol of the state and one of its best transportation values. Building new ferries is prudent and essential, not an option.
Like any another segment of vital transportation infrastructure, the ferry system needs to be reliable, which requires maintenance and upkeep.
Both the House and Senate have taken steps to approve a transportation package this year to pay for major improvements in many areas of the state. Differing communities and populations have different mobility needs. By far the largest share in both the House and Senate proposals would go to roads and bridges. Both proposals also include funds for another new Washington State ferry, a needed improvement for our marine highway.
We all need to encourage the House and Senate to reach agreement on a final package.
Ferries provide significant transportation value for many reasons. The system collects a higher percentage of operating revenue from fares (about 67 percent) by far than do bus and rail systems. Replacing ferries with bridges would be wildly cost-prohibitive and virtually impossible because of environmental and other concerns. Without ferries, many communities currently served by them would see their economies wither. Ferries are not only the state’s top tourist attraction, but also a lifeline for commuters and many businesses.
Washington also gets longer life — an expected 60 years — out of its ferries than most other systems in the world.
In 2014 the system carried 23.2 million total riders, up 2.7 percent from 2013. There were 10.2 million vehicles on board and 6.7 million walk-on foot passengers.
The fleet needs to be kept up-to-date because when a ferry goes offline in one area, it can have repercussions for the entire system. Vessels need to be pulled aside for maintenance, and breakdowns occur.
In the last decade the state tried to extend the life of three of ferries to 80 years; the consequence was nearly a disaster. The Steel Electric ferries were suddenly pulled off the water when it was discovered they were finally no longer fit to serve. That had repercussions throughout the system, especially in Port Townsend, which lost all service for a while and went two full years before full service was restored.
Since then the state has been building ferries one at a time, but at that pace, in a system with 23 vessels, many of which have been serving for decades, it takes time to get caught up.
Washington’s two oldest ferries still in regular service are 57 and 56 years respectively. The Evergreen State was retired last year at age 60 but brought back into service two weeks later when another ferry broke down with a serious issue that required six months to fix.
Washington has five more ferries now serving their 48th year. Most other ferry systems retire vessels after 40 years. One of the 48-year-olds, the Hiyu, which ironically in the Chinook language means “plenty,” is by far the slowest and smallest in the fleet. Its only practical role is as a backup, but even then it has less than half the capacity of any other ferry.
The state’s oldest ferries have trouble keeping up during heavy traffic or after delays from issues such as emergency medical transports. When one vessel is behind a little bit, a car stalls on a boat or there is a long line somewhere, the affect can compound to alter schedules for vessels and users throughout the system. It can be extremely frustrating, resulting in hours of delay.
Investing in ferries built here in Washington is not like providing tax breaks on the promise of keeping jobs in this state. It not only funds great family-wage jobs with certainty, but importantly buys the state tangible assets that serve as critical links in our transportation system and economy for up to 60 years.
Patty Lent is mayor of the city of Bremerton.
The following message was sent out this morning through the Ferry Community Partnership group.
Update: The Washington State Senate transportation leaders yesterday released a bi-partisan plan to invest $15 billion in the State’s transportation system over 16 years. Funding for a fourth 144-car ferry is included in the proposal. This proposal is an important first step in the 2015 Legislature passing a transportation package. Hearings are likely to start on this proposal in the Senate on Tuesday and we will provide you an update on the schedule and best ways to participate and encourage action. Today, please simply clink on a link below and send a short email today to any of the Senator leadership listed thanking them for their work on the transportation proposal and your support of their work. Thank you.
Here are the members of the Senate Transportation Committee:
- Sen. Curtis King, Chair
- Sen. Don Benton, Vice Chair
- Sen. Joe Fain, Vice Chair
- Sen. Steve Hobbs, Ranking Minority Member
- Sen. Marko Liias, Ass’t Ranking Minority Member
- Sen. Michael Baumgartner
- Sen. Annette Cleveland
- Sen. Doug Ericksen
- Sen. Cyrus Habib
- Sen. Pramila Jayapal
- Sen. Steve Litzow
- Sen. Mark Miloscia
- Sen. Jamie Pedersen
- Sen. Ann Rivers
- Sen. Tim Sheldon
The Ferry Community Partnership will meet in Anacortes at the Public Library this Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
The agenda can be found here.
Service on ferry routes in the San Juan Islands and Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth may be reduced in 2015 in order to save money. If you are not aware of this proposal, you can learn more here.
If these cuts are implemented there will be negative consequences for residents, businesses, and visitors in the areas served by these particular routes.
The Ferry Community Partnership (FCP) is hosting a meeting in Anacortes on Saturday, October 11 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the meeting room of the Anacortes Public Library. The proposed service cuts and what to do about them will be on the agenda. This meeting is open to the public.
The proposed extension of the winter ferry schedule means service cuts for the Anacortes/San Juan Islands routes. In addition to the inconvenience for travelers and residents, there will be an economic impact for Anacortes, the San Juan Islands and other communities. The Ferry Community Partnership—a grassroots advocacy group comprised of ferry riders, ferry community businesses, and local government officials that works with state legislators and agencies to support issues important to all ferry–served communities—plans to meet in Anacortes this October to discuss this and other WSF issues that impact our area .
You are cordially invited to attend this meeting.Date: October 11, 2014 Time: 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Location: Public Library Meeting Room in Anacortes, WA (1220 10th Street, Anacortes, WA 98221).
Other topics that will be covered include a legislative update, and identifying FCP’s goals for 2015. We invite you to hear these updates, ask questions, and give us your recommendations on next steps for FCP to take to be most effective in supporting all ferry-served communities.
This message came out this morning from the Ferry Community Partnership:
It [HB 1129] was brought up all of a sudden Tuesday afternoon. Sen. Angel voted against it, Sen. Sheldon was absent, but Sen. King voted for it and it passed out of committee. Now it will go to the full Senate for a vote.
Please get either e-mails or phone calls ready for ALL Senators to vote for the bill. Remind them that this boat will need to built anyway, and that they can save 10-20% by building it this year in series with the other two. If we wait for the Transportation Package to be passed in November (at the earliest), we won’t get it. The 3 Evergreen State vessels are continuously having problems and need to be replaced.
Click here to access a list of email addresses for state senators.