February 10, 2011Representative Judy ClibbornChair, House Transportation CommitteePO Box 40600Olympia, WA 98504Dear Representative Clibborn,As you write your 2011-13 Transportation, I respectfully request that you designate 75 percent of future proceeds from the sales of the M.V. Chinook and M.V. Snohomish passenger-only fast ferries into the passenger ferry account created in RCW 47.60.645 (allowing Washington State Ferries to apply 25 percent of the proceeds against overhead costs associated with sale of the boats). I further request that of proceeds deposited into the passenger ferry account, 50 percent is allocated for the Port of Kingston¶s passenger-only ferry service and the other 50 percent for improvements at Pier 50 in Seattle.As you recall, nearly $3 million in proceeds from the recent sale of two passenger-only ferries used for the Bremerton run were deposited into the passenger ferry account for the 2009-11 biennium. Asignificant portion of that, $2.7 million, went to King County to support passenger-only ferry services for the Vashon run. A small portion, $150,000, went to the Port of Kingston for their passenger-only ferryservice.The Department of General Administration estimates the remaining two boats will sell for $175,000-$200,000 each. These relatively low proceeds, however, are a significant boost for the Port of Kingston¶snew run which will support as many as 300 daily commuters by 2013, and would support much-neededimprovements at the passenger-only ferry dock on Pier 50 next to Colman Dock.Here are just two examples of how the Port of Kingston could apply the relatively small proceeds towards both capital and operating costs:
$84,000 would pay for capital improvements that enhance the ADA-compliance of their two newvessels, making it easier for seniors and those with physical disabilities to board the ferry from thedock.
$104,000 could cover nearly half (44 percent) of their payroll expenses for the entire year. Inoperating the new run, the Port anticipates employing 10-12 full-time and part-time employees at atime when unemployment in Kitsap County remains high.In regards to the passenger-only ferry dock on Pier 50, the funding could go towards creating more spaceon the barge dock to embark and disembark passengers by removing remnants of the old bow-loadingramp system and the ramp system on the barge itself. In addition, King County and the Port of Kingstonwould like to install a real-time passenger messaging system inside the tent waiting area to provideinformation about boat departures and possibly even up-to-date position/arrival information.I¶m including draft proviso language for consideration in the Department of Transportation¶s 2011-13 budget, Program X (Washington State Ferries Operating Budget):