LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Let’s keep an open mind
December 7, 2009 · Updated 1:14 PM
To the editor:
Like Paulette Becker, I am doubtful that a reservations system is the best way to deal with the problem of growing ferry lines in peak periods. However, her letter is unfair to Assistant Secretary Moseley of WSDOT Ferries Division.
He inherited an extravagant business-as- usual plan that involved spending hundreds of millions of dollars (that we taxpayers do not have) to expand the ferry system to meet highly questionable projections of future demand. This plan also included an environmentally irresponsible project to relocate the Keystone harbor and to expand the Port Townsend dock so WSF could employ large standardized ferries on all its routes, regardless of actual need.
While I do not agree with everything he has done, the new plan is clearly a vast improvement. It involves living within our means, constructing appropriately sized ferries for each route and seeking to minimize the need to invest in parking lots at the ferry terminals. Mr. Moseley is considerably more visible than his predecessors, and has demonstrated a willingness to engage skeptical audiences rather than hiding behind his staff. At this point, he deserves the benefit of any doubt.
The failure to plan for the replacement of the Steel Electric ferries was the responsibility of his predecessors and the Legislature.
As for fare increases, the truth of the matter is that these have not kept up with inflation and are considerably lower in real terms than 20 years ago. Moreover, WSF’s fares are modest by international standards. Ferries in Canada and the UK are at least twice as expensive on a comparable-distance basis.
It is very important that the South Whidbey community keeps an open mind on the reservations question and actively engages WSF in the debate. If we simply shout “No reservations,” we risk becoming isolated from other ferry dependent communities.
Robin G. Adams