Gale force ferry service warnings

by Tim Flanagan on February 12, 2012

The state is talking about cuts in the neighborhood of 40 percent. But would such drastic cuts really happen?

C.B. Hall has the story at Crosscut:

If the world were flat, treat one might assume that Washington’s ferry system is about to sail off its edge. Recent pronouncements from Washington State Transportation secretary Paula Hammond and assistant secretary David Moseley have forecast a severe downsizing of Washington State Ferries (WSF) if prevailing financial assumptions hold true and the Legislature can’t come up with quite a few more dimes for the system’s tin cup.

History and political reality might suggest a less drastic future for the ferry system. But the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) leadership has started the discussion in stark terms.

In a presentation to Senate and House transportation committees at the start of the current legislative session, hair Hammond concluded that, order absent new revenues, the system would have to eliminate six of its 11 routes altogether — Anacortes-Sidney, Port Townsend-Keystone, Seattle-Bremerton, Southworth-Fauntleroy, Southworth-Vashon, and Point Defiance-Tahlequah. Two other routes would see service cutbacks. A motorist from Southworth would have to go to Seattle to catch a ferry to Vashon, while a driver heading from Port Townsend to Oak Harbor would have to detour through Kingston and Edmonds. About a third of the 23-vessel fleet would go into mothballs, and the state would shutter six terminals.

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