Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton, is among a group of lawmakers representing Puget Sound’s ferry communities that delivered a letter to State Auditor Troy Kelley on Jan. 21 requesting an audit of Washington State Ferries related to the three newest 64-car ferries. Specifically, the legislators want the auditor to determine the true post-delivery cost of design and construction decisions on the Kwa-di Tabil class vessels. One of the vessels is now serving the Coupeville to Port Townsend route.
“This request is based on concerns I brought to the attention of the Washington State Department of Transportation and Secretary of Transportation Paula Hammond last August,” said Smith. “We want to ensure that the design decisions being made reflect best design practices at the time of construction. Issues have been identified that may significantly impact the life-cycle of the ferries, driving higher-than-expected costs for operations, modifications, maintenance and fuel use. If our ferry customers are asked to bear the majority of our ferry system’s operations cost, it is essential that we get clear answers.”
Smith’s letter in August outlined seven concerns including: the hull list that impacts loading and operations, fuel consumption and efficiency, vibration issues, and questions about the engines and propulsion systems.
The letter was signed by 15 legislators from around the Puget Sound area.