In early August, Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton sent a letter to David Moseley, Assistant Secretary of Transportation. In the letter she expressed several concerns about the design and durability of the new 64-car ferries. She received a response from WSF on August 17, but is still not satisfied. She has requested a face-to-face meeting with Mr. Moseley which will also be attended by Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor. He is a former U.S. Navy warship captain who also has many questions about these ferries.
A full article about this recent development is available here, on the HeraldNet site.
The new 64-car ferry Salish has finished sea trials and is expected to go into service on the Port Townsend-Coupeville run some time in July. Ever since the retirement of the Steel Electric class ferries in 2007, the Port Townsend route has run on a severely reduced schedule. In addition, WSF has been without “spare” boats during the winter scheduled maintenance season, meaning that if a boat broke down there were system-wide disruptions.
And from the Kitsap Sun, an article that helps clarify the current legislation and schedules for new vessel construction:
Plans afloat for new ferries
Early last month it because clear that one consequence of the proposed budget cuts could be moving the new MV Salish from the Port Townsend run for which it was originally built to the San Juans interisland run. If this comes to pass, it has a negative impact on both Port Townsend and the San Juans. Here is an update published on 1/1/11 in the Kitsap Sun.
As mentioned in a post on November 22, state ferry management leaders are holding a series of community meetings now. It was expected that the possible revision of plans for the MV Salish was going to be a hot topic during the December 4 meeting in Port Townsend. As this also impacts the San Juans, it may also be a topic at the December 14 meeting in Friday Harbor from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Remember, this meeting is supposed to be streamed online so residents of other islands can attend virtually.
This article from the Peninsula Daily News provides information about the possible change for use of the MV Salish.