Letters to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Whidbey Island economy needs ferry funding

To the editor:

In the next couple of weeks the Washington State Legislature will decide whether to fund construction of a third 144-car ferry. The ferry will replace one of the 60-year-old boats currently in the system. The Island County Economic Development Council asks the community to contact our local legislators and voice their support in building this new ferry.

How many of us drive 60-year-old cars? If a car classified as an antique is not reliable enough to get us back and forth to work, how much more important to replace a ferry which might carry over a million vehicles a year? The state can also save money using manufacturing efficiencies.

Over a hundred years ago Henry Ford learned that assembly lines reduce costs. Adding another 144 now will take advantage of the assembly lines established at Nichols Brothers and Vigor to meet the demand of building the two boats currently in construction. Let’s use that to our advantage, build the third boat now and save a bundle. Building the 144 also boosts Island County’s economy.

Constructing the 144 superstructures has added 80 to 100 living wage jobs to the county. That equates to over $6 million annually in payroll which leads to a $12 million impact to our local economy and supports 370 other jobs. No other private employer located in the county comes close to the economic impact Nichols Brothers provides.

Building another 144 is the right choice. The new ferry will replace an antique boat with a modern, more efficient and less polluting one along with providing vital living wage jobs for Island County and Washington.

Let our legislators know you’re onboard building a new ferry. Call the legislative hotline, 1-800-562-6000, and leave a message for Sen. Bailey, Rep. Smith and Rep. Hayes.

Ron Nelson,


Island County Economic Development Council


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