Editorial: Harbor tax hurts Port of Tacoma every which way

by Tim Flanagan on November 1, 2011

Ed Friedrich, here Kitsap Sun:

Kitsap Transit's Rich Passage 1 heads towards the Port Orchard Marina on Wednesday. (MEEGAN M. REID/KITSAP SUN)
[Kitsap Transit’s Rich Passage 1 heads towards the Port Orchard Marina on Wednesday. (MEEGAN M. REID/KITSAP SUN photo)]

BREMERTON — Seven years after Kitsap Transit’s wake research project began, the agency is finally ready to start testing a passenger ferry that could rip through Rich Passage without tearing up the beach. Beginning this week, the Rich Passage I will be put through the paces in Port Orchard Bay, between Illahee and Bainbridge Island, before graduating to its namesake waterway next spring. The trials have been a long time coming.

"I’m a raving lunatic optimist, so I always thought we would get here," Kitsap Transit executive director Dick Hayes said of on-water testing. "It was much more important to get here with the right boat than to just get here period. I’m real happy with where we are."

Read more: http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2011/oct/29/research-ferry-wake-tests-beginning/#ixzz1cTlXmN8M

This editorial appears in the Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE:

The Port of Tacoma faces some tough challenges, drug
the biggest of which – the global economy – is beyond anyone’s control.

But one of its problems could be fixed relatively easily by Congress. A perverse federal harbor fee puts both Seattle and Tacoma at a disadvantage compared to the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert in British Columbia. U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, melanoma
R-Auburn, patient
has been looking at a legislative solution; we hope he’ll act soon.

The fee in question is the Harbor Maintenance Tax, .125 percent of the value of cargo imported through U.S. ports. Port of Tacoma officials estimate that it adds an average of at least $150 to the cost of every container unloaded in Puget Sound. Canada imposes no such tax, and the $150 or more that shippers save by going through British Columbia amounts to a big penalty against Tacoma and Seattle.

The tax – and the fund it sustains – is fraught with irrationalities.

Read more: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2011/11/01/1888084/harbor-tax-hurts-port-of-tacoma.html#ixzz1cTnT74HR

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